Congress Grills Oil Executives About Rising Prices

The men who run the nation's five biggest oil companies faced some tough questions Tuesday in the nation's capital.

The oil giants testified before a congressional subcommittee and defended their record high pump prices, at a time when they're hauling in record profits.

The executives say they've got ideas on how to help ease prices but the government isn't listening.

Meanwhile truckers staged a nationwide strike of sorts Tuesday in an effort to make their voices heard.

Across the nation independent truckers went on strike to highlight the runaway fuel prices that are threatening their survival.

Independent truck driver David Santiago said, "We just can't take it any more! A few more months, and we'll be out of business."
At the same time, heads of the nation's five biggest oil companies were on Capitol Hill explaining their record profits.

Robert Malone, President of BP America said, "We can't change the way the world market relies, and this nation relies on 60 percent of its oil from foreign countries."

The oil chiefs say Washington shares the blame for soaring pump prices.

John Hofmeister, President of Shell Oil Company said, "Because government policies place domestic oil and gas resources off limits, the government restricts supply to U.S. consumers."

The companies say they invest more than they profit as they search for new supplies and sources like renewable energy.

Democratic Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts asked, "And how much money are you investing?"

Stephen Simon a Senior Vice President for Exxon Mobil corporation said,      "About one hundred million dollars over ....."

Congressman Markey interrupted and said, "A hundred million, but you made forty billion dollars last year."

Simon responded, "Mr. Chairman, putting more money into something does not necessarily equal progress."

Democrats scoffed at the companies' request for tax breaks.

Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee of Washington State said, "If you were going to give awards for taxpayer abuses, this would win the Heisman, and the Oscar, and the Nobel prize."

Even sympathetic republicans warned the oil giants to ease up.

Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller of Michigan said, "If you refuse to change with America I believe you're going to see a backlash from your customers."
Truck driver Scott Hutchins said, "Thousands and thousands of trucks stopping for 3-4 days. That's going to get some people to notice."

With Americans not just saying enough is enough, but doing something about it.

One democrat said the committee gave the oil chiefs a big break by not giving out their home phone numbers.