WASHINGTON – Don’t blame us, oil industry chiefs told a skeptical Congress. Top executives of the country’s five biggest oil companies said Tuesday they know record fuel prices are hurting people, but they argued it’s not their fault and said their huge profits are in line with other industries.
Appearing before a House committee, the executives were pressed to explain why they should continue to get billions of dollars in tax breaks when they made $123 billion last year and motorists are paying record gasoline prices at the pump.
“On April Fool’s Day, the biggest joke of all is being played on American families by Big Oil,”, D-Mass., said, aiming his remarks at the five executives sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in a congressional hearing room.
“Our earnings, although high in absolute terms, need to be viewed in the context of the scale and cyclical, long-term nature of our industry as well as the huge investment requirements,” said J.S. Simon, senior vice president of., which made a record $40 billion last year.
“We depend on high earnings during the up cycle to sustain … investment over the long-term, including the down cycles,” he continued.
The up cycle has been going on too long, suggested, D-Mo. “The anger level is rising significantly.”