Emerson Phillips pulls into the Weston Service Station in his well-heeled Ford pickup. "Fifty bucks," he calls out to Luis, the station attendant, then opens his tank and inserts the nozzle. His response when asked about gas prices? "They suck," he says.
Phillips does renovation work and also plows driveways part time. "I put about, 30,000 miles a year on my truck," he said. "Sometimes I can spend $150 a day" on gas.
He hasn't increased his fees, but he's not ruling that out. "When the price of gas goes up, it's a big difference," he said.
Southern Fairfield County has notoriously high gas prices the highest in Connecticut, according to consumer reports. In December 2009, a gallon of gas in Connecticut cost about $2.80. A year later, the price was up to $3.30, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But in Southern Fairfield, the price hovers at about $3.50 or more.
Given these numbers, Philips may pay an additional $1,000 per year for gas. But he has a solution: "We need an international effort to dismantle OPEC," he said. "Oil is the world's currency."
The 12-country oil cartel controls nearly 80 percent of the world's reserves and produces 44 percent of the crude oil supply, giving OPEC more control over oil prices than any other entity.
In 2008, OPEC slashed oil production to increase the price of a barrel of oil, which had fallen to $33. Crude oil was trading near $90 a barrel on Sunday and has been steadily rising over the past two years. This price increase allows the oil-producing countries to charge an additional $4.8 billion per day from the consuming countries.
Oxford-based pet-sitter Heather Graham also drives all over western Connecticut. "I charge people more, for the farther away clients," she said. "But I haven't yet raised my regular prices."
Graham fills her tank at least twice a week, and sometimes double that. Earlier this month, "I had three days in a row where I had to fill up," she said. "But when you need it, you have to get it."
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