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SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights has found that Americans are pouring more money in multinational oil companies' pockets that their European counterparts. The near $5 a gallon prices in Europe is associated with high taxes, not wholesale prices, which were found to be 24 cents cheaper than U.S. prices on average.
"The last argument of the oil companies, when motorists' anger rises at $3-plus gasoline, is to point to higher prices in Europe and tell Americans that they should be grateful," said Judy Dugan of Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "What they don't say is that while Europe's higher taxes go to the public treasury, U.S. drivers disproportionately fill the pockets of oil companies and get nothing in return."
In addition, the study -- conducted by independent oil analyst Tim Hamilton -- found that U.S. refineries owned by international oil companies have rapidly increased their profit margins over the last four years. Meanwhile, in Europe, refinery profits remained stable, even when crude prices rose.