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Oil Costs Have Many Worried About Winter Home Heating

Heating oil is delivered in Boston, MA - Oct 19, 2007 - Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Heating oil is delivered in Boston, MA – Oct 19, 2007 – Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images

jennifermclogan Jennifer McLogan
Jennifer McLogan returned to WCBS-TV in 1993 to cover Long Island...
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GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBS 2) – The costs of oil are skyrocketing, leaving many people concerned about how they’re going to pay to heat their home.

Jerry Jurman wants to crank up the heat, but who can afford to these days? Home heating oil prices are at a two-year peak, making for a miserable holiday season.

“I don’t have any money coming in. It’s a really rough situation,” Jurman said. “I owe them money now, the oil company. I was on the phone with them yesterday, as a matter of fact.”

A year ago, Jurman paid $2.90 per gallon, but prices are now hovering around $3.38 per gallon, shooting up $0.10 in the last week alone. Since August, the cost of home heating oil has climbed a whopping $0.40 per gallon.

Complaints are pouring into the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island, and the institute’s chief executive said he’s complaining too.

Oil Heat Institute Executive Director Kevin Rooney said he’s frustrated, claiming the flow of Wall Street investment dollars into commodoties is artificially raising the price of crude oil beyond supply and demand.

“This is simply large investment firms – financial investment firms – that are basically playing with our economy as if it were Monopoly money,” Rooney said.

It’s not just home heating oil that’s seeing the price spike – the surge in crude oil costs is also affecting prices at the pump.

“It cost me $60 to fill my tank,” Arlene Zollo, of Lindenhurst, said. “That’s crazy. With Christmas time and stuff, you can’t even afford to go out.”

Zollo was filling up within steps of the Roosevelt Field Mall, but said she wasn’t setting foot inside the mall this season.

“We’re doing a grab bag between my family,” she said. “Prices of games and toys and clothes, everything’s gone up – it’s ridiculous, you can’t even survive.”

The same shopping trip in the same car will cost 15 percent more this week than at this time last year, when a gallon of gas cost an average of $2.85. Now, prices average $3.27 a gallon, with no relief in sight.

AAA says higher pump prices are partly due to the weakened dollar and lower East Coast refinery capacity.