Pain at the pump? Blame oil companies, not gas tax

February 28, 2011

In his letter to the editor on Feb. 26, Patrick McGrady writes that he is outraged at the General Assembly's consideration of an increase in the gasoline tax from 26.5 cents to 36.5 cents per gallon, generating an additional approximately $250 million for transportation projects ("Gas tax increase will hurt Md. families".

I feel Mr. McGrady's rage is misplaced. These additional funds will provide thousands of jobs in Maryland and help to maintain an efficient and safe transportation system, which benefits us all. Rather, his rage and the rage of all Americans should be directed at the forgotten villains, oil company profits. In The Sun article of Feb. 24 dealing with rising gasoline prices ("Upheaval across the Middle East threatens oil fields, pipelines, refineries and shipping lanes"), there was mention that Exxon-Mobil earned over $30 billion in profits in 2010. When you throw in the profits from Shell, Gulf, Sunoco, etc., the total profits of these greed machines is astronomical.

Maybe these oil company profits are perfectly legal, but one can argue that they are exorbitant, unethical and immoral in these tough economic times when gasoline prices heavily impact on working families and businesses alike. Yes, crude oil prices are going up, but it is clear that the oil companies wish to bear none of that burden. Theirs is the motto of the greedy: let's keep our high profits and pass the cost increases on to the customer.

The General Assembly deserves our monitoring, but it's the oil companies that deserve our outrage.

Donald T. Torres, Ellicott City

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