The head of ExxonMobil says there are no quick fixes to higher energy prices.
Chairman Lee Raymond acknowledged the prices have "put a strain" on consumers' pocketbooks.
But he also told senators that punitive measures would hurt the industry.
Raymond was the first of five oil company leaders to defend the industry's huge profits at a Senate hearing today. He says petroleum earnings "go up and down" from year to year, but stressed they are in line with other industries when compared to the enormous revenues involved.
The hearing comes on the heels of record oil company profits, even as gasoline costs rose above three dollars a gallon.
Senator Pete Domenici told the executives there is a "growing suspicion" among consumers that the oil companies are taking unfair advantage.