Are you feeling the pain yet? I got an email from a viewer this morning complaining about the high prices - specifically complaining about the profits being raked in by the oil companies. I'm no different than anyone else - it pains me to fill up my SUV or mini van. This is a good opportunity to look at how much of what we pay is determined by taxes. Missouri adds 17.5 cents to every gallon of gas you buy. Illinois has the third highest gas tax - at 37.4 cents a gallon. Now, add SALES TAX to every purchase - 6 or 7%, depending on your location. With prices this high, you may be spending an extra .30 to .50 in sales taxes on every purchase, which is an absolute windfall to the state government, since the tax is progressive. Just a theory, but that may be one reason politicians only pay lip service to this by holding hearings, but never taking any action. And really, what would that action be? This is a supply and demand issue. The simple answer would be a tax cut. Oil companies, like many other industries, have consolidated over the years. They claim their profit margin is under 9%, but if their worldwide sales are $87 BILLION, you would expect that to be a healthy amount of cash. The numbers are stunning, but if they only made $1-million in sales, nobody would complain about a $90,000 profit. Exploiting our own oil reserves - wherever they may be - and decreasing dependence on Middle Eastern sources is the only way to consistently bring prices down.