Oil Lobby Pumps Cash Into Image Campaign

Industry fights back as rising gas prices damage its rep
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 9, 2008 3:15 PM CDT
Demonstrators stand outside the American Petroleum Institute in downtown Washington, Wednesday, March 19, 2008, to mark the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – As gas prices skyrocket—and oil company profits soar along with them—the chief US oil lobby has launched a massive campaign to improve its public image, the Washington Post reports. The American Petroleum Institute is spending millions on newspaper ads, a traveling museum, and tours for bloggers, to counter rising hostility among consumers and moves in Congress to punish the industry.

Spending on the campaign “dwarfs” the typical amount spent on so-called issues advertising, says an ad exec. The lobbying group will say only that the price tag doesn't top $100 million, but it's expected to be on par with the "Got Milk?" campaign by the dairy industry. The goal is to convince voters that rising prices are not the companies' fault and that higher taxes would only make problems at the pump worse.