September 30, 2022
Editorial: Oil companies should pay windfall profits tax

Since the election of Barack Obama, domestic oil production has more than doubled. Even as retail costs at the pump are skyrocketing, the nation’s oil and gas industry is sitting on more than 9,000 unused permits to drill for crude on federal and Indian lands. And they have plenty of money to do it – record profits. These companies are awash in cash that not only has given them a bounce after the pandemic trimmed consumption and lowered prices – but with profit levels that haven’t been seen in 25 years

If companies won’t act to increase production and set a reasonable price level, state and federal governments need to step in on behalf of consumers. The must enforce price gauging laws and impose taxes on excess profits to be fair to consumers.

A month ago it was reported that ExxonMobil’s net profit more than doubled to $5.5 billion from a year earlier – and that was after taking a $3.4 billion charge from closing down its operations in Russia. Shell reports its highest profits ever and Chevron’s quarterly profit was the biggest in nearly a decade.

What are these companies doing with the windfall of cash – that has come largely as a result of Russia’s unconscionable aggression in Ukraine? Why is there corporate silence instead of loud cheers of “drill baby drill?”

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