June 27, 2000
Protect Consumers From Oil Price Shock, Public Citizen Urges Congress
Stop Oil Company Mergers, Boost Fuel Efficiency and Enact
Campaign Finance Reform
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Stopping oil company mergers, making automobiles more fuel efficient, and investing in mass transit and renewable energy are just a few things Congress can do to protect consumers from future oil price shocks, a Public Citizen energy expert will tell lawmakers on Wednesday.
Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program, will testify before the House Judiciary Committee at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Hauter will note that oil companies have been making enormous profits and contribute generously to federal campaigns while Congress has blocked efforts to boost fuel efficiency of vehicles.
“Public Citizen is concerned that massive campaign and soft money contributions by the oil and gas industry have been influencing national energy policy in ways that benefit Big Oil at the expense of consumers, workers and the environment,” Hauter says in her testimony.
Hauter also suggests that Congress eliminate tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, establish a windfall profits tax that could be used to provide rebates to people who buy very efficient cars, make government buildings and vehicles more energy efficient, develop alternative fuels and enact campaign finance reform to ease the oil industry s lock on lawmakers.
Hauter s testimony comes as Americans wallets are being squeezed at gas pumps. Prices for gas have skyrocketed in recent weeks, reaching more than $2 a gallon in the Midwest. Meanwhile, oil company profits have jumped drastically. Texaco s first-quarter profits in 2000 skyrocketed by 473 percent over the first quarter of 1999, while profits for Conoco jumped 371 percent and BP Amoco s profits went up 296 percent.