The first nine months of 2021 saw a boom in profits for the fossil fuel industry, which rakes in tens and billions of dollar as Americans face a rise in gas prices.
A new report by Accountable.US shows that 24 top oil and gas companies made $174 billion in profits between January and September, lining shareholders’ and CEOs’ pockets. The report found that 16 companies raised their dividends at minimum once in 2021. Many of the CEOs of these companies had compensation packages of more than $10 million.
Companies like Exxon and ChevronHigh profits were reported in the third quarter 2021; in only four months, the 24 companies have made $74 billion in profit. Exxon aloneThe company reported a revenue increase of 60 percent over the previous year, and the highest profits in four years at $6.9 billion for the third quarter.
Gas prices have continued to rise in the meantime. seven-year high during the third quarter especially, increasing by 50 percent in just a year — amounting to an average of $3.40 per gallon in the U.S. — even as wholesale prices have gone down. This has resulted in higher profits for oil and gas companies, as increased demand drives higher prices for gas after pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
Critics of the oil and gas industry say that the high gas prices are by design, as oil and gas companies haven’t been replenishing fuel suppliesTo meet high demand. Conservative politicians have deceitfully tried to blame high gas prices on President Joe Biden’s climate policies, despite the fact that the president’s climate approach has been tepid at best. But sustainable energy groups like the International Energy Agency have said that high prices are thanks to “the deliberate policies of energy producers.”
From a climate perspective, more oil and gas production is not to be cheered — but the oil and gas industry has little incentive to shrink the fuel supply due to the climate crisis, and wouldn’t raise prices for that reason. The industry is manipulating gas prices because they are usually higher than usual. little effect on demandThese prices are unlikely to decrease usage. These prices will also hurt middle- and lower-income individuals who have few options for transportation. continue to experience high levels of hardshipNearly two years have passed since the pandemic.
“As Americans make sacrifices to cover high gas prices, oil and gas corporations are raking in billions that they then use to shower mega-rich CEOs and shareholders with more money,” Accountable.US wrote in its report. “Rather than increase production or reinvest to meet the energy demand increase caused by the world reemerging from COVID-19 lockdowns, oil and gas companies are taking advantage of bloated prices, fleecing American families along the way.”
The Biden administration has taken note of oil and gas companies’ increased profits. “[T]he oil and gas companies are not flipping the switch as quickly as the demand requires,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.
Biden last month asked the Federal Trade Commission to examine potential “anti-consumer behavior” by the industry, pointing out the discrepancy between high prices and low wholesale costs. “This unexplained large gap between the price of unfinished gasoline and the average price at the pump is well above the pre-pandemic average,” he wrote.
The industry’s actions regarding natural gas prices also lend credence to the idea that the companies are acting deliberately to pad their pockets. Recent reporting foundThe record exports of natural gas by energy companies was a sign of a growing demand. However, domestic supply was limited ahead of winter. This is why utilities are stocking up. Gas bills are projected. rise to 30 percentAccording to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it was higher than last year.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D.Massachusetts), pressed energy companies to explain their exporting practices. criticizing their “corporate greed.”
“The cause of rapidly rising energy prices for consumers and manufacturers is clear: some of the nation’s largest and most profitable oil and gas companies are putting their massive profits, share prices and dividends for investors, and millions of dollars in CEO pay and bonuses ahead of the needs of American consumers and the nation’s recovery from the pandemic,” Warren wrote in a letter to the nation’s largest natural gas producers.
The oil and gas industry isn’t the only industry taking advantage of the American public to pad their pockets during this time of economic turmoil. Corporations have seen Profits have increased by a lotThis year, which consumer advocates is becauseTo profit from media cycles about inflation, companies are leveraging them. raise prices precipitously.