Depleting Savings, Racking Up Debt

Vermont Bernie Buzz

People living in rural states like Vermont, where it is not unusual to commute 100 miles to work and back five days a week, are hit hard by skyrocketing fuel prices. With gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon, many Vermonters are falling deeper into debt and saving less for the future.
"The increased price of gasoline is taking a serious bite out of the paychecks of middle class families, many of whom are already working longer hours for lower wages," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has written to President Obama to ask for the immediate resignation of federal regulators who won't enforce a new law to stop excessive speculation in oil markets.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that federal commodities regulators filed a civil lawsuit against commodities traders that early in 2008 "tried to hoard nearly two-thirds of the available supply of a crucial American market for crude oil, then abruptly dumped it and improperly pocketed $50 million."

A Vermont Bernie Buzz poll earlier this month found:

- Nearly four in 10 motorists, 38 percent, said $4 a gallon fuel is forcing them to either deplete their savings account or save less for retirement. Meanwhile, nearly one in five, or 19 percent, said they are racking up more credit card debt to pay the increasing cost of a fill-up. Just 8 percent said they were not affected by rising gas prices.

- Asked why Vermont gas prices had risen 35 percent in one year and nearly 30 cents in one month, more than eight in 10 people, or 82 percent, pointed to Wall Street speculators and profiteering by big oil companies.

The Full Poll Results:

What do you think is the main reason gasoline prices have gone up recently?
poll results 1

(Total responses: 1060)            

How have rising gas prices most affected you?

poll results 2