80 Percent of Voters Support Taxing Big Oil’s Windfall Profits, Poll Finds

Recent polling has shown that a majority of voters support crackingdown on Big Oil as the gas prices have reached an all-time high record highsLegislators are pursuing legislation to tax their profit.

The pollHart Research Associates conducted a poll earlier this month for Climate Power and League of Conservation Voters. The results showed that 87 per cent of voters believe that lawmakers should take steps to stop profiteering oil companies. Eighty percent of voters support a windfall tax on industry profits that would discourage price gouging by companies.

Most voters agree that oil companies are profiteering off of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with 57 percent of voters saying as such and only 24 percent of voters disagreeing. While 49 percent of voters believe that the current high gas prices can be attributed to oil and natural gas companies looking to boost their profits, only 37 percent believe that the prices reflect market conditions.

Gas prices currently average $4.25 per gallon on average across the U.S. This is slightly lower than last week’s highs of around $4.30, but still very high compared to the average of $2.59 in March of 2019According to the Labor Department, gas costs are stable overall. up about 38 percentFrom one year ago.

Democrats have pinned high price Directly on oil companiesProfiting from international conflict and economic uncertainty caused by pandemics. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), a progressive lawmaker, has called for accountability in the industry. “[T]here should be consequences” for oil company “profiteering,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted last week.

Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democratic-California Democrat, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic-Rhode Island Democrat, were both present earlier this month. Introduced a billThe difference between current prices (and average pre-pandemic) would be used to tax barrels that are imported or manufactured by large oil companies. The tax revenue would be distributed directly to the public with checks totalling around $240 per year for individuals earning less than $75,000 annually.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) introducedSimilar legislation was passed last week. It would directly target taxable income for this year that exceeds prepandemic profits. Consumers would also be eligible for a tax credit based upon this tax.

According to polling, passing such a bill is a winning strategy for Democrats hoping to gain an edge in the 2022 midterm elections. Experts agree that President Joe Biden cannot do much to lower gas prices. However, higher gas prices are a good thing. largely correlate with lower presidential approval; Biden’s approval began dipping in late summer last year, around when inflation began rising and gas prices followed.

Democrats have a chance to win voters over with their messaging about gas prices. Sixty percent of poll respondents say that price gouging is a major cause of high gas prices; the same proportion also says that oil companies’ decisions to limit production and export large volumes of oil are keeping prices high.

“Democrats can increase their advantage on these issues by not taking Republican calls for expanded oil production at face value and by making sure voters understand these proposals for what they really are,” the polling memo reads. “For example, by 46 percent to 36 percent, voters oppose relaxing or eliminating clean water protections that limit the development of shale oil, and voters need to know that this is what Republicans want when they call on America to ‘drill, baby, drill.’”

Conservatives and oil companies have been advocating this, in fact. For more drillingDespite the conflict in Ukraine. They claim that increasing production is essential right now, but they ignore the fact that the U.S. has been a major player in the conflict in Ukraine. already producing near its limit.

Climate activists called for the passage a windfall tax in response to the poll. “Despite the fossil fuel industry’s disinformation campaigns, voters know who is to blame for high gas prices: Big Oil,” Jamie Henn, Fossil Free Media director, said in a statement. Fossil Free Media possesses launched a campaignIn support of the proposal, push Congress to adopt the bill.

“For politicians on both sides of the aisle, this polling is proof that their constituents overwhelmingly support the idea of a windfall profits tax that would stop Big Oil profiteering and send relief directly to consumers,” Henn continued. “If members of Congress refuse to act, it’ll be concrete evidence that they’re in the pockets of the industry.”