Members of the U.S. Senate are demanding that oil companies take steps to bring down high gasoline and heating oil prices being paid by U.S. consumers.

The demands came Wednesday as a Senate committee questioned top executives from five major oil companies.

The companies recently reported record profits as the price of crude oil hit $70 a barrel and gasoline prices soared after supply disruptions caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Republican Senator Pete Domenici said many Americans believe the companies are exploiting current conditions to reap excess profits.

The executives defended their profits, saying most of the money is re-invested into energy exploration projects.  They cautioned senators against imposing government measures to lower prices, saying market forces will lead to reasonable prices.