ECONOMICS OF GREED: Help Make Oil Scarce, Make More Money

The 3 M's. That's what it's called. Make More Money. Never mind that chaos will probably be the end result. Never mind that the world may end up like a scene in Mad Max the movie.

AP IMPACT: Big Oil profits steered to investors

HOUSTON - As giant oil companies like Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips get set to report what will probably be another round of eye-popping quarterly profits, just where is all that money going?

The companies insist they're trying to find new oil that might help bring down gas prices, but the money they spend on exploration is nothing compared with what they spend on stock buybacks and dividends.

It's good news for shareholders, including mutual funds and retirement plans for millions of Americans, but no help to drivers already making drastic cutbacks to offset the high cost of fuel.

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