Perhaps spurred by the fact that this is an election year,
it seems nearly everyone in Congress has come up with an idea on how to help
people deal with the rising cost of fuel.
The National Journal reported that Rep. Jim
McDermott, D-WA, was planning to introduce legislation on Thursday, April 27,
that would repeal a manufacturing deduction enacted in 2004 that lowered taxes
for U.S. producers, including oil and gas companies.
Not to be outdone, Republican lawmakers have proposed a $100
rebate for every taxpayer to help offset rising fuel costs, though no details
were released as to exactly how that would be funded. That measure also
includes a controversial proposal to begin drilling for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a move that has failed in the past.
Earlier this week, another Democrat, Sen. Bob Menendez,
D-NJ, proposed a 60-day fuel tax holiday on both gasoline and diesel.
As if all of that weren’t enough, The Associated Press reported that the Senate Finance Committee has requested tax records for the
major oil and gas companies as part of an investigation into soaring profits
and fuel prices.
The AP reported that the request for tax records was
highly unusual and that the last time it was done was during the investigation
of Enron Corp.
For its part, the oil industry has been on the defensive
about accusations of price fixing. In an e-mail to “Land Line Now,” an
ExxonMobil spokesman said “ExxonMobil does not and could not control the market
price of gasoline.”
The e-mail stated that, while there are about 13,000
ExxonMobil fueling stations in the U.S., ExxonMobil itself only owns and
operates 1,000 of them. The rest are operated by independent distributors.
In addition, the e-mail said that the biggest influences on
oil and fuel prices “continues to be demand and supply for crude oil and
petroleum products and local supply and demand for (fuel), followed by federal
and state taxes.”
– By Terry Scruton, senior writer
Reporter Reed Black of “Land Line Now” contributed to