There is no free market in oil and gas. The OPEC cartel and the growing concentration of power in the oil industry have strangled competition. Mergers have turned 34 major oil companies into 13, and fifteen refining companies into seven. The lack of real competition means that companies can more easily manipulate supply and price. Not surprisingly, this is reflected in the record profits at oil companies like Exxon Mobil. The government needs to go after those who are truly responsible: the hugely profitable oil companies, the OPEC cartel, and speculators. We should impose a windfall profits tax, pass legislation to make gouging of consumers a crime, subject all oil trading to the same regulation as other commodities, and force the administration to break up the OPEC cartel. We need long-term solution as well. I support H.R. 4409, a bipartisan bill that would require a reduction in consumption and focus on conservation and alternative fuels.