OIL: Raising the Chopping Block

Huge, rich and efficient, the U.S. oil industry has long occupied an ambiguous place in American life. Its dazzling feats of technology in supplying the nation's voracious demand for energy have helped the U.S. to become the most advanced country on earth. Yet many Americans have come to view the industry with suspicion, especially since the rapid runup in oil prices that followed the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Critics contend that the major companies' total control of all aspects of their business, from wellhead to gas pump, has given the industry too...

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