In the book The Cay, a young boy named Phillip lives on the island of Curacao. Each day he is excited to go to the oldest part of town. The town resembles Holland, and the area he likes to visit is very busy and exciting to Phillip.
Phillip and his family live on the island because his father works for Curacaosche Petroleum Maatschappij, a refinery where fuels are made. The types of fuel made there include kerosene, gasoline, and diesel oil. German vessels draw closer to the refinery, and the threat that the Germans may attack the refinery makes everyone on the island concerned.
Phillip's father has to work many hours, and Phillip does not get to see him as much. Phillip is highly excited over the recent events, but his parents are worried about Phillip's safety.
Phillip's mother did not like the island much but moved to accompany her husband. Her husband was hired as part of the war effort. He is an expert in working a refinery and producing gasoline. The book does not say anything about Phillip's father having the ability to make gasoline cheaper.