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Americans are feeling pain at the pump. According to a recent CBS News poll, 86 percent of people have been affected by higher gasoline prices “some” or “a lot.” A recent Associated Press/Ipsos poll showed that 70 percent believe that higher gasoline prices will cause financial hardship for them or their family. Yet while ordinary Americans suffer under the weight of high gasoline prices, the world’s largest energy conglomerates are enjoying record breaking profits.
According to The Washington Post, the 2004 profits for ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, and ConocoPhillips broke records across all industries. In fact, last year, at over $25 billion, ExxonMobil booked the highest profit of any company in any year in history. Yet, oil company memos show that they made part of these profits by constraining refining capacity to drive up prices. These record profits have not only more than doubled CEO salaries, but they have driven up political contributions, a staggering $450 million in the past six years. So, while consumers are paying at the pump, oil companies are getting billions in tax breaks and sweetheart deals from the Bush administration and their congressional allies.