traveled today to the front lines of a battle that is hitting home hard on people’s purse strings: prices at the gas pump.
“It’s an emergency right now for people in our state and our country,” DeLauro said of gas prices while at Long Wharf Mobil in New Haven, where a gallon of regular unleaded costs $4.39. “We need to bring these prices down.”
“I want to find out what’s going on in people’s lives,” she said. “How far they commute? How they’ve had to cut back? What do they think we should do?”
“Nothing,” was Branford resident Brian Higney’s response. Let the free market work it out on its own, he said.
“Drill baby drill,” was Hugh Hedges' reply.
The New Haven resident said the U.S. should tap into its own natural resources, instead of relying on foreign sources. “We have our own and we’re throwing our own wealth away,” said Hedges, who served in the Korean War.
DeLauro said the U.S. only has 2 percent of the world’s oil supply, while it uses 25 percent of that supply. “I believe in a strong domestic market for this,” she said, however limited it may be on a global scale.
There are approximately 68 million acres of land currently under lease to drill, but companies have not begun to tap those resources, DeLauro said.
“Go kick ‘em, honey,” Hedges said to DeLauro. Earlier in their conversation he had asked if it were OK to call her honey since, Hedges said, he is an older man. She obliged.
“I think I like you and I am a crazy Republican,” Hedges said to DeLauro, a Democrat who represents Connecticut’s third Congressional District.
To find the cheapest gas in your town, visit Gas Buddy.
To address the high price of gas, a combination of short—and long-term approaches is needed, DeLauro said. She has joined forces with her counterparts in Massachusetts and Vermont in introducing a bill that would let the federal government release a small amount of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This, she said, “calms the market.”
“But the biggest effect is what it does to speculation. It helps stop them in their tracks,” she added.
Longer-term solutions focus on the creation of sustainable alternatives, DeLauro said.
Meanwhile, residents like A.J. Huston, a Hamden resident who teaches in New Haven and provides for a family of four, are feeling the financial pinch brought on by high gas prices. He is looking to trade in his SUV for something more compact and that gets better gas mileage.
It cost him $78.11 to fill up his tank on Thursday. That will last him about four to five days.