News Release

Big Oil: High Prices, Record Profits


Research director for Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program, Slocum said today: “Since Bush took office, the largest five oil companies operating in the U.S. have after-tax profits of $205 billion. We need to examine the relationship between U.S. oil company profits and the higher prices for consumers and American industry. For example, in 2004, ExxonMobil — the product of the 1999 merger between Exxon and Mobil — chalked up the world’s biggest-ever profit for a single company: $25.3 billion. Is it possible that ExxonMobil and other U.S. oil companies are making part of their profits off price gouging? It is possible that, just like Enron constricted supply in California by ordering power plants offline in order to create supply shortages to jack prices up, U.S. oil companies are keeping supplies offline and waiting to release those supplies until prices rise enough to make it worth their while? The potential is there.”
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Williams is director of the Politics of Oil project at the Center for Public Integrity. He said today: “We found that the oil industry here in the U.S. spends more than $440 million on candidates, political parties and lobbyists to carry its water in Washington, D.C.”
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Director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network and a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Wysham is co-author of the report “Wrong Turn from Rio: The World Bank’s Road to Climate Catastrophe.” She said today: “Until we can lead the world, both by example and by investment, toward a clean energy future, we will be taking ourselves and the rest of the world down a dead-end road of fossil fuel dependence. Placing Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz at the helm of the World Bank unfortunately continues a misguided policy — of ensuring that taxpayer-financed institutions make oil and gas resources cheap for U.S. consumers. But we must wean ourselves off of this finite resource before it gets even more expensive, and the only way to do so is to make cleaner energy options cheaper and dirty energy options more expensive — the opposite of what Bush is trying to do.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167