Georgie’s Parting Gift

From Holden:

The Bush administration’s hands-off approach to high oil prices is helping one hard-pressed group of folks:

ExxonMobil Corp. and Royal Dutch/Shell Group yesterday reported large increases in third-quarter profits, part of an industry-wide windfall caused by high oil prices and strong demand.

Irving, Texas-based Exxon said its profit was $5.68 billion, up about 56 percent from the third quarter last year. Royal Dutch/Shell, based in London and The Hague, said that its profit more than doubled, to $5.4 billion.

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“It’s like the gold rush,” said Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York.

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As oil companies reap the rewards of higher oil prices, consumers suffer. The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was about $2.03 yesterday, 2 cents less than a record set in May, according to a AAA auto club survey. Diesel fuel prices have reached record highs for weeks. Home heating oil prices are far higher than last year. The prices do not reach record levels when adjusted for inflation.