By Jami Jones
It’s not often that I am shocked by the rhetoric spouted by Big Oil bigwigs, but this latest one takes the cake.
The House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming hosted top-level executives from the five largest oil companies at a hearing intended to probe the causes of and solutions to America’s oil dependence.
The hearing, ironically enough, was on April Fool’s Day. And, as one would suspect, the joke was on the American consumer once again.
Diligent members of the House Select Committee asked again and again why Big Oil is raking in record profits while consumers are signing over welfare checks for heating fuel and unable to afford gas money to go to work.
The answer: Those profits help the oil companies survive bad years.
After I picked my jaw up off my desk, I had no choice but to call BS on that one.
I played around with the numbers. Diesel alone has gone up more than 200 percent since March 2002. Just one of the Big Oil players has seen its profits go up more than 250 percent in that same time.
When the executives were pointedly asked why these oil companies don’t just lower the price of fuel and cut back on their profits, the lawmakers were met with dead silence. The unspoken answer was, “Why would we want to do that?”
Even though the hearing was a good show, once again there was no resolution or relief from soaring fuel prices at the end of the day.
Our only way out from under Big Oil is to embrace the development of alternative, renewable fuels. But it doesn’t stop there.
Government policy over the years created this Big Oil fire-breathing dragon. And, unless we want to deal with Big Methane or Big Hydrogen in the future, businesses that produce these energy products cannot be showered with tax breaks and incentives and protected with regulatory shelters.
Small businesses and the American consumers are expected to stand on their own two feet. It’s about time the energy industry did the same. LL