Political Pressure Continues as Gas Prices Surge

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With gas prices on the rise, President Barack Obama is now targeting oil companies in his re-election campaign.

The president wants to end tax breaks given to big oil companies, but critics claim that move would do little to bring down prices at the pump.

Drivers around the nation are feeling the frustration.

College Student Steven Megaloudis was relieved he made it to the gas pump, but outraged at what he had to pay.

"I was... about to be below [empty]. I thought I was going to run out coming here, actually," he said.

The price has climbed to more than $4 a gallon in some states, and analysts expect the average cost nationwide to reach $5 a gallon by Memorial Day.

Gas station owner Bunkey Morgan said his frustrated customers should blame the oil companies.

"Depending on what day it is, is the reason the oil companies will give you. One time it's because of a war, and one time, 'well we're conserving too much' is one of the last excuses," he explained.

And the ever-increasing price at the pump is a growing political pain for President Obama. He's also pointing to oil companies.

"It's not as if these companies can't stand on their own," Obama said during a speech in the White House Rose Garden Thursday.

The president again urged Congress to repeal nearly $4 billion in tax breaks to oil companies.

"Every time gas goes up by a penny, these companies usually pocket another $200 million in quarterly profits," he explained.

Still, just hours after the president's call, the Senate rejected the "repeal big oil tax subsidies" bill by a vote of 51-47.

"There is no oil company getting a subsidy. And the dirty little secret about what the president is proposing on changing the tax laws," Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said.

"Oil companies don't get grants or gifts of money. They are given deductions as to what it costs to produce oil and gas," Gohmert added. "Like any company is allowed deductions for the business expense of doing what they do."

He said the real answer to high gas prices is for the White House to embrace all forms of energy, including more drilling at home in the United States.

"This administration is granting permits at half the rate than the Clinton administration did," he claimed. "And they were a pretty green administration."

In the meantime, American consumers and business owners are struggling.

"My volume has decreased 25 percent in the last two days," Morgan said. "And it's got to be because of the price of gas."

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