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Paying the price -- Instability rattles heating oil market

Kot said he too thinks prices will head back up after the Nov. 7 election, and that politics plays a role in why they are on a downward trend.

"It is too much of a coincidence," he said of the timing. "I hope they surprise me, but I do think they will start to go back up. It is just too coincidental."

Like Kot, Christine Hurlbert, of Ballston Spa, said she thinks the government should step in and impose regulations on big oil companies in an effort to control gas prices because it is a commodity everyone needs and because of that, the companies are exploiting consumers.

"Everybody needs it, and it should be socialized. The prices should be controlled in some way," she said. "I don't buy the whole supply-and-demand thing, and I don't buy the reasons they (oil companies) give for the prices going up."

She said she thinks oil companies are driving prices down before the mid-term elections so they will keep the status quo in Washington, rather than Washington putting pressure on the oil companies.

The Democrats' talking points headed into the election include taxing windfall oil profits and investigating a possible collusion between a handful of oil companies to control supply and drive prices up. Republicans say more needs to be done to decrease our reliance on foreign oil, including an expansion of domestic drilling.

Many think the high gas prices will help foster alternatives, and both Democrats and Republicans say a long-term solution includes doing more to promote alternative sources of energy like solar, hydro, fuel cells and hybrid vehicles.

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