WASHINGTON -- The pain at the pump has a lot of Americans looking to play the blame game.
But as lawmakers on Capitol Hill focus their anger on oil companies, some say inaction by Congress is the real culprit.
A Pain in the Wallet
At the pump and in the marketplace, Americans are cringing from the pain of rising fuel costs.
Tuesday's truckers went on strike, protesting $4 per gallon diesel. It was just one more sign of the ripple effect on the economy.
"I know five people in the past few months that have filed bankruptcy and walked away from their trucks 'cause they can't make any money," trucker Frank Walker said.
Big Oil on the Hot Seat
In Congress, lawmakers are hammering oil companies for the raking in a record $100 billion in profits at the consumers' expense.
One house Democrat is demanding top oil executives give up $18-billion in tax breaks and fork over 10 percent of their profits to research alternative fuels - fuels that oil chiefs say aren't yet up to the challenge.
"As these consumers are at the pump being tipped upside down and money shaken out of their pocket your message to them is that you can't do anything for them?" Rep. Edward Markey challenged.
"Raising taxes on oil and gas production to subsidize alternatives will likely lead to less overall energy production, not more," Exxon Mobil executive Stephen Simon responded.
While Exxon Mobil made a record $40 billion in profits last year, its U.S. tax bill exceeded U.S. earnings by $19 billion.
They warn that punitive taxes on the industry could cost consumers more.
But are oil companies easy scapegoats?
Look in the Mirror, Congress
Some are blaming politicians for rising fuel costs, saying that Congress caves in to extreme environmentalists and makes domestic oil exploration off limits.
One oil executive said accessing the 85 percent of U.S. coastal waters, now banned from exploration, would bring fuel prices down.
Some believe opening the Artic National Wildlife Refuse in Alaska could produce enough oil to replace Saudi Arabian imports for the next 15 years.
Alaska's senators have proposed legislation to open artic and Alaskan fields to development if the price of oil hits $1,250 a barrel for five days.
But before that happens, it would first have to get through a less-than-willing Congress.
Click the player to watch Melissa Charbonneau's report and Pat Robertson's comments on what Congress should do in order to reduce the price of gasoline.