With US petrol pump prices steadily rising, President Barack Obama has moved to make fuel costs a election campaign issue.
He challenged members of the US Congress to block billions of dollars of subsidies given to the biggest US energy companies: “Last year, the tree biggest US oil companies took home more than $80 billion in profit. Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour. Today members of Congress, they can stand with big oil companies or they can stand with the American people.”
But the upper house of Congress the Senate rejected the idea.
The Republics argue that cutting the subsidies would increase prices and economists warn that could slow the overall economy, which would toughen Obama’s chances of winning a second term in November.
Republicans were joined by Democratic Senators from oil rich states who would not want to offend campaign contributors.
Obama was trying to make political capital from opinion polls showing two thirds of Americans blame high prices on “oil companies that make too much profit.”