President Bush defended the huge profits of ExxonMobil Corp [Ed: a record-breaking $10.71 billion in the fourth quarter of '05] on Wednesday, saying they are simply the result of the marketplace and that consumers socked with soaring energy costs should not expect price breaks. In an interview with the Associated Press aboard Air Force One en route to Tennessee, Bush also addressed oil's future, offering a more ambitious hope than in his State of the Union speech for cutting imports from the volatile Mideast.A counterpoint, from The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights:
Bush, a former Texas oilman, said of oil costs, "I think that basically the price is determined by the marketplace, and that's the way it should be.
"If Exxon Mobil had not artificially kept gasoline inventories running nearly on empty prior to Hurricane Katrina in order to drive up the price of gasoline, it would not be reporting profits greater than any American corporation in the history of the world," said FTCR president Jamie Court. "Exxon Mobil intentionally made gasoline scarce in order to drive up its profits by not investing in needed refining capacity and by exporting needed petroleum products out of America. No oil company should be allowed to reap world record profits from one of the nation's worst natural disasters. These hurricane-force profits should drive the US Senate to legislate new supply-side regulation of the industry."