The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on doing away with tax breaks for the largest oil and natural gas companies, a bill that has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and is mostly an attempt by Democrats to force GOP lawmakers to publicly vote in favor of tax concessions to Big Oil.
The bill would do away with billions in tax incentives to oil and natural gas companies like Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) for drilling costs that stem from survey work, ground clearing, salaries, maintenance and repairs in exploration and drilling projects.
President Barack Obama outlined a similar measure in his 2013 budget, in which he called for eliminating twelve tax breaks for oil, natural gas and coal companies.
White House calculations estimate as much as $41 billion would be saved over the next 10 years.
Industry proponents and many Republican lawmakers have criticized the president's stance, saying tax breaks are needed to help incentivize companies to spend millions in exploration and development of the country's energy resources.
They argue that removing the tax breaks would increase gasoline prices.
Every time you fill up the pump, they're making money. They are doing just fine. They're not having any problems, Obama said during a speech in Boulder City, Nev., this week.
The Senate vote comes as the country's leading energy trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, is unveiling a new ad campaign specifically designed to coincide with Monday's vote, and promotes measures that Obama could adopt to help lower energy prices.
Gasoline at noon on Friday traded at $3.37 per gallon, up a nickel in New York. The country's average retail price for gasoline was $3.88 per gallon, 33 cents higher than a year ago, says the American Automotive Association.
Crude oil traded at $107.09 a barrel, up $1.75 in late Friday trading in New York.