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Sierra Daily

May 03, 2011

Sell, Baby, Sell!

Gas prices

While you're paying through the nose at the pump while waiting for that EV of your dreams, consider that Big Oil is experiencing record profits. ExxonMobil made nearly $11 billion in the first quarter of the years, 69% better than its fabulous profits of last year. Shell is up $6 billion, a 22% improvement. Chevron and ConocoPhillips are expected to report numbers about 33% better than last year. Business Insider explains that the trick is playing the spread in oil prices between Europe and the United States, producing it in Euros and refining it in dollars. Don't ask me to explain, but it makes them more money and they're running with it.

So what about those calls to lower gas prices by increasing supply via greatly increased domestic drilling? Everything indicates that it would only further increase Big Oil's profits. Records from the Energy Department show that the United States has become a net exporter of gasoline; that is, we're sending more of it abroad than we purchase.

Joe Gorder, executive vice president at U.S. refiner Valero Energy, said the trend in exports is driven by rising demand in Latin America. "I do believe that we are seeing just a long-term trend here that's going to allow Gulf Coast refiners to continue to export barrels," he told the Financial Times.

Meanwhile, the Senate is preparing to vote once again on stripping Big Oil of its lucrative public subsidies.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday named the issue among his priority items for the upcoming several weeks before the Memorial Day recess.

“We will have the same debate in the Senate that the American people are having at home. That is the question of whether we should keep giving away money to oil companies who clearly don’t need taxpayer handouts,” he said, echoing comments last month in which he said, "We need to take away the subsidies of the five major oil companies." 

--Paul Rauber

Image by iStock.

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