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Boxer supports Obama's call to end oil subsidies

April 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Sen. Barbara Boxer discussed rising gas prices and the need to end oil company subsidies at a Saturday press conference in North Hills.

Boxer emphasized cracking down on speculation in the oil markets, investing in clean energy and releasing oil from the strategic petroleum reserve to help lower gas prices.

As gas prices continue to soar, drivers continue to cringe at the prices they're stuck paying at the pump. Some signs read $4.25 per gallon, and others read even higher at $4.35.

"I try to go wherever it's cheaper, but everything is starting to go up, and it's just hard to get around now with gas prices this high," said motorist Edgardo Fuentes of Toluca Lake.

A gallon of regular is averaging more than $4.20 per gallon in California. Drivers in 22 states are paying more than the national average of $3.91 per gallon.

In his weekly address to the nation, President Barack Obama said he has a problem with unwarranted taxpayer subsidies for big oil companies to the tune of $4 billion a year.

"When oil companies are making huge profits already and you're struggling at the pump and we're scouring the federal budget for spending we can afford to do without, these tax giveaways aren't right. They aren't smart and we need to end them," Obama said.

The president also said that when companies announce bigger profits and people are struggling to fill their gas tanks, it's time for Congress to act.

Some drivers agree that elected officials need to take action.

"This is such an added burden, that it absolutely needs to be a priority. Specifically what they can do, that's not my area of expertise or I would be an elected official, but it absolutely needs to be a priority," said another motorist, Virginia Weber of Toluca Lake. "I mean, people are really suffering and these prices are putting a lot of people just over the edge."

At Saturday's news conference, Boxer stressed limiting the exporting of oil from U.S. oil refineries so more of that oil remains stateside.

Meantime, some Democrats are trying to push a bill forward as early as next week to end subsidies to big oil companies. However, many Republicans say a bill like that would cost U.S. jobs and would hurt the economy.