Oil executives remain under heavy fire from Congress and the American public, but prices at the pump also remain on the rise.gas_prices_-_mammoth_11-17.jpg

This week, Congress began to grill oil officials about their huge profits – a combined $123 billion last year – which seem to come from the backs of consumers, weary of climbing gas and diesel prices.

In fact, since Monday, independent truckers have gone on strike to protest the gouge of diesel prices, which have gone up much more than gasoline. Many independents just can't stay in business with current prices. If they pass on costs, that means product prices go up.

Local prices at the pump in Bishop and the Owens Valley go from $3.53 to $3.75 per gallon of regular unleaded. In Mammoth Lakes, the same gallon goes for $3.99. In northern Mono County, the $4 mark was passed long ago. Lee Vining and Bridgeport gasoline goes for $4.39 per gallon of regular unleaded.

Diesel prices remain higher than gasoline. Internet sources say the worldwide demand for diesel fuel has increased steadily with strong demand in China, Europe and the U.S. This makes prices go up, plus the Federal excise tax on diesel fuel is 6 cents higher per gallon than the tax on gasoline.

These excuses leave truckers and other diesel customers unconvinced.

Aware of the general unrest over fuel prices, Congress began hearings with oil executives called to task. Testimony so far confirmed record setting oil profits and gas prices. Congressional representatives threatened to dissolve oil company tax breaks – $2 billion worth – to divert that money into alternative energy research.

The big oil bosses justified their huge profits by saying other industries are making it big, too.

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