Robert Weisman president of Public Citizen, explains why the price of gasoline is so high and what todo about it.

Being a multinational oil company looks like good work if you can get it:

  • Oil giant Chevron raked in $11.2 billion in profits from July through September.
  • Exxon did even better, making $19.7 billion in profits over just those three months — its most profitable quarter EVER.
  • In fact, the three top oil companies — Chevron, Exxon, and Shell — have more than tripled their profits compared to this time last year.

Again, we’re talking about profits. Not overall revenue. Sheer, unadulterated profits.

And it’s not like these companies, you know, pay Mother Nature for each barrel of oil they suck out of the ground. Or that they gave their rank-and-file workers mega-bonuses this year (unlike the excessive pay and stock options they lavish upon their executives.)

This is just plain old profiteering, pure and simple.

Big Oil is exploiting the global economic disruption and uncertainty caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine — along with recent cuts in oil production by OPEC that seem intentionally designed to destabilize things even further — to extract as much money out of all of our pockets as they can.

Meanwhile, oil prices fuel the inflation that is wreaking havoc on everyday Americans and the global economy. And the price of a gallon of gas is a major factor in how Americans vote, with Election Day right around the corner.

Today, President Biden publicly floated the idea of taxing Big Oil’s outlandish profits — something Public Citizen has been pushing the administration to do over the past year.

However, President Biden held out this kind of tax — known as a “windfall profits tax” — as a punishment only if oil companies don’t ramp up domestic production.

But ramping up domestic oil production is a bad idea for many reasons, including that more oil from U.S. lands will just be exported — as 29% of U.S. crude production currently is — denying any benefits to American consumers.

And the existential threat of climate change demands that human society move away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible, not that we let Big Oil extract even more oil out of the Earth and even more profits out of everyday consumers.

By the way, 80% of American voters — including 73% of Republicans — were in favor of a windfall profits tax on Big Oil even before President Biden’s announcement.

So there’s no need to manufacture counter-productive reasons to threaten to do something later that an overwhelming majority of Americans think we should be doing already.

It’s time to do some drilling of our own — deep into Big Oil’s overflowing pockets — by taxing the industry’s unjust, and unjustifiable, windfall profits and returning the money to the people.

Add your name as a citizen co-signer of our message to Congress:

American consumers need help. And somebody has to say “Enough is enough!” to Big Oil’s shameless profiteering. Pass legislation to tax the oil industry’s windfall profits now — not as a threat that will only entice them to drill more — and give that money back to hard-working, everyday Americans.

Click now to add your name.

Thanks for taking action.

For progress,

– Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen

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