Gushers and Gougers

Record oil prices pushed Exxon Mobil's net income to $10.9 billion in the first quarter of this year, the energy giant reported Thursday. Earlier this week, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Conoco Phillips also reported big gains. At the consumer end of the petroleum pipeline, gasoline, is now going for $3.62 a gallon on average, according to a survey by the national automobile club AAA. Diesel sells for $4.25 a gallon on average. "If there was ever a time for Congress to stand up to the greed of Big

Record oil prices pushed Exxon Mobil's net income to $10.9 billion in the first quarter of this year, the energy giant reported Thursday. Earlier this week, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Conoco Phillips also reported big gains. At the consumer end of the petroleum pipeline, gasoline, is now going for $3.62 a gallon on average, according to a survey by the national automobile club AAA. Diesel sells for $4.25 a gallon on average. "If there was ever a time for Congress to stand up to the greed of Big Oil and powerful financial institutions, this is it," Senator Bernie Sanders concluded in a column published Thursday by the Bennington Banner. "The American people are hurting and they're asking for help. Let's respond and lower the price of oil and gas."

Commenting on proposals to rein in gasoline prices, the Bennington Banner said in a separate editorial that "there are some good ideas out there" and mentioned several advocated by Sanders. "We like the idea of an excise tax on oil companies, which would be used to fund a temporary gas tax reduction. It also makes sense to put much more pressure on Saudi Arabia to increase oil production to help lower the price worldwide."

Many of you like those ideas, too. In the last day alone, more than 1,200 people took our survey on gasoline prices.

In the short term, more than three-quarters as of mid-day on Thursday favored a tax on big oil companies so that they cannot gouge consumers at the pump, and the same lopsided majority likes the idea of a crackdown on speculators who are manipulating the price of oil. More than 68 percent favor pressing a case with the World Trade Organization to break up the OPEC price-fixing cartel.

For the long term, an impressive 84 percent believe Congress and the president should increase investments in renewable energy, and 70 percent favor initiatives to male our vehicles, homes, buildings and appliances more energy efficient.

To read the senator's column, click here.

To read the Bennington Banner editorial, click here.

To take the survey, click here.