As Profits Soar, Oil Industry Unapologetic

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE and BRAD FOSS
AP Business Writers © 2006 The Associated Press

— The oil industry's massive first-quarter profits this week triggered another round of election-year outrage from President Bush and members of Congress, who spoke up on behalf of angry constituents feeling pinched at the pump.

There's little that either lawmakers or the industry can do in the short-term about the high oil prices that yielded those profits, however, as long as energy markets stay tense and the global economy is expanding. Instead, it would take a decision by consumers and businesses to consume less fuel, a choice they have yet to make, analysts said.

The country's three largest petroleum companies _ Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips _ posted combined first-quarter income of almost $16 billion, an increase of 17 percent from the year before.


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