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Gasoline Prices Strain South Florida Families, Republican Energy Bill Helps Big Oil Companies, Not the Consumer

Location: Washington DC

Gasoline Prices Strain South Florida Families,
Republican Energy Bill Helps Big Oil Companies, Not the Consumer

"The Energy Policy Act of 2005 is going to help every American who drives to work, every family that pays a power bill, and every small business owner hoping to expand."
-President Bush, August 8, 2005

"There's little that can be done in the short term… motorists can help themselves by slowing down on the highway."
-Undersecretary of Energy, David Garman, August 16, 2005

August 16th Ticker: Gas prices jump 18 cents in one week, single largest increase on record… July inflation jumps on high oil prices… oil hovers around $66 a barrel… Wal Mart says "oil prices will erase improvements in employment and real income for an important portion of our customer base."

August 16, 2005

(Washington, DC) -- Rep. Wasserman Schultz said today that rising gasoline prices reflect Republican's misplaced priorities when it comes to energy policy.

"The unacceptable rise that we have seen in gasoline prices over the past year can be linked, in part, to the lack of a consumer oriented energy policy in this country," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz whose comments came on a day of record gasoline price increases.

Gas prices have remained at record levels for about four months - at $2.55 per gallon nationwide, this week alone. That means gas national prices are 36 percent higher than just one year ago, and eighteen cents higher than last week. These rising prices will force a family of four to spend hundreds of dollars more on gasoline this year than last year.

"The response we saw from the President and the Republicans in Congress was, 'lets give more money to the big oil companies,' rather than working for a solution to lower prices for consumers at the pump," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz.

Before leaving for their August recess, Congressional Republicans passed, and the President signed, an energy bill that was completely inadequate in meeting America's energy challenges and was full of special-interest provisions for big oil and gas companies.

The resulting legislation is set to provide as much as $14.5 billion in tax breaks over the next 10 years to corporations that are already immensely profitable.

Between April and June 2005, BP recorded profits of $5 billion; ConocoPhillips earned $3.1 billion in profits for the same time period. U.S. oil and gas producer Kerr-McGee Corp. reported that its second-quarter earnings more than tripled from a year ago. ExxonMobil's second quarter profits of almost $8 billion shattered records, giving the company more than $15 billion in profits in the first half of 2005 alone. This is on top of the company's record $24 billion in profits in 2004.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz knows that there is a better way to reduce energy prices and is working with her Democratic colleagues to bring down gas prices. First, we are calling to temporarily suspend deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to put more oil on the market. Second, we have called upon President Bush to demand that OPEC increase the oil supply. Third, we have been promoting legislation that would require the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department to exercise vigorous oversight over the oil markets to stop price-gouging at the pump. And fourth, we have been calling for steps to create greater transparency in gas pricing. We are also pushing for a 21st Century energy policy that would bring about lower energy prices through investments in American innovation and emerging technologies.

"Americans and many Floridians are preparing their final vacation plans for the coming Labor Day weekend," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "Let's honor American workers by providing them and their families with lower gas prices."


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