Subsidies for oil companies will be debated in Congress this week.   U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says with gasoline prices high – $4.26 is the Illinois average at the moment – it’s time to eliminate the tax subsidies that oil companies receive.


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“The oil companies last year made $137 billion in profit. They can certainly afford to sacrifice $4 billion in federal subsidies. That money should be taken away from the oil companies and put into investing in ways to find more fuel-efficient vehicles and more sustainable, renewable sources of energy,” Durbin said at a news conference Sunday across the street from a gas station in Chicago that is charging $4.79.   Republicans argue that ending the tax subsidies would make the retail gasoline price go up, not down, but Durbin says in the long term, fuel efficiency and alternative energy will cause us to spend less on gas. 


Durbin also blames speculators for high prices. He says speculation is not a problem per se, but there are participants in the market whose only purpose is to drive up the price. He expects the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to issue a rule soon to limit how much can be traded per trade and per day.


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