Prices and Prayer

Crude oil hit a record near $140 a barrel Monday before retreating. Retail gas rose to $4.08 a gallon. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, reportedly plans to increase output by about a half-million barrels a day. In Washington, D.C., Senator Bernie Sanders met in May with the ambassador from Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter. "The point that I made to him is that he has got to understand that people in my state and throughout this country are hurting and hurting very badly," Sanders told the

Crude oil hit a record near $140 a barrel Monday before retreating. Retail gas rose to $4.08 a gallon. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, reportedly plans to increase output by about a half-million barrels a day. In Washington, D.C., Senator Bernie Sanders met in May with the ambassador from Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter. "The point that I made to him is that he has got to understand that people in my state and throughout this country are hurting and hurting very badly," Sanders told the Bennington Banner. For example, a woman who has been trying to sell her house for two years and described herself as "stretched to the breaking point," told the senator, "I don't go to church many Sundays because the gasoline is too expensive to drive there."

An e-mail from that Vermont woman to the senator was mentioned by The New York Times' Bob Herbert in a column published Saturday about an outpouring of e-mails that the senator received from Vermonters struggling to cope. "Many of the letters touched on the extremely harsh winter that pounded Vermont and exacerbated the economic distress. With fuel prices sky-high, many residents turned to wood to heat their homes. A woman with a 9-year-old son wrote: ‘By February, we ran out of wood and I burned my mother's dining room furniture. ... I'd like to order one of your flags and hang it upside down at the Capitol building. ... We are certainly a country in distress.' "

To take our poll on gasoline prices, click here.

To read the senator's booklet Letters from Vermont and America, click here.

To read the Bob Herbert column, click here.

To read The Valley News editorial, click here.