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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast



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I'd way rather pay $1.98 per gallon than $3.49. Who wouldn't? That doesn't necessarily mean elevated prices reflect "gouging" by the oil companies,  and if they do... it's our government "gouging" us at the pump.

Let me pose this question: Isn't one of the primary objectives of any business to make as much money as possible off the products it sells? Why are gas prices so high? Because they can be. We've demonstrated that as a people. It's almost 3.50 a gallon, and we're still filling up.

If Harley could sell a $10,000 motorcycle just as easily for $20,000 wouldn't company executives be silly to do otherwise? Why do we ask oil companies to "take it easy on us?"

Furthermore, do you really know who's making record profits off the sale of gasoline? Our government. According to a study by the Tax Foundation, based on figures from the US Energy Information Administration, taxes generated at the Federal and State levels by the sale of gasoline far exceed profits raked in by "Big Oil."

2004, the oil companies profit $42.6 Billion. In the same year the States and Federal Government collect $58.4 Billion in taxes. This study shows that from 1977 through 2004, the oil companies recorded gasoline profits in the U.S. totaling $643 Billion. Our government in the same period collected more than $1.3 Trillion in taxes.

The federal government makes more money per gallon of gas than the oil companies. The state of Wisconsin certainly makes more money per gallon of gas than the oil companies.

George Will in the Washington Post last month writes, "Oil companies make about 13 cents on a gallon of gas. Government makes much more."

Wisconsin takes well over double that amount. Our gas tax stands at 32.9 cents per gallon... one of the highest gas taxes in the nation. Will continues, "Forty-nine states -- all but Alaska -- make more than the oil companies do on every gallon."

Let me state again, I hate paying a lot of money for gas. I hate what it does to my wallet. I hate what it does to our economy. I hate that I pay at the pump, and then pay again when other businesses raise their prices to reflect the impact the high cost of fuel has on their bottom lines. I hate it, but there's plenty of blame to go around.

If our elected officials were really concerned about lowering gas prices, they may consider cutting their take per gallon. They certainly have a lot of room.

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