Heather Graham stops to fill up her gas tank, sees the price $3.44 per gallon and sighs. "I drive a lot," she said. "I usually fill up at least twice a week, sometimes three or four times."
Graham's Oxford-based pet-sitting business requires her to drive all over western Connecticut. "I charge people more, for the farther away clients," she said. "But I haven't yet raised my regular prices."
The steady increase in gas prices pushes people such as Graham to decisions that could deter business. "I don't think there's anything you can do" about the cost of gas, she said. If she raises her prices, people might look elsewhere for similar services.
But ask Weston resident Emerson Phillips about a solution to runaway gas costs and he's quick with an answer. "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 oil-producing countries to charge an additional $4.8 billion per day from the consuming countries.
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.
"Gas is definitely more expensive in Weston," Graham says. Unlike the famous actress who shares her name, Graham doesn't have an endless stash of cash. 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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