The American Petroleum Institute's (API's) efforts to assuage public resentment of the oil industry apparently know no bounds. API's Denise McCourt recently addressed a Rotary Club meeting in Charleston, West Virginia. "The oil and natural gas industry hasn't done a very good job telling people about energy issues," McCourt told the group. So poor Big Oil has taken "a little bit of abuse by the people running for office." McCourt told the audience that higher gas prices don't necessarily mean "atrocious profits" for oil companies. She compared what she said were 2007 profit rates of 7.6 cents per dollar of sales for the oil industry with 9.2 cents per dollar of sales for all manufacturing, except automobiles. Luckily, the reporter covering McCourt's talk realized that ExxonMobil just set the record for "the largest annual profit by a U.S. company -- $40.6 billion."
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