Soaring Prices at the Pump Matched by Soaring Profits for Gas Company Execs

FILE - A motorist fuels a vehicle at an Exxon station in Littleton, Colo. (Photo via AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

By Sarah Ovaska

March 10, 2022

Gas is becoming a luxury as prices spike to $4.18 a gallon in North Carolina,  while major oil companies and their investors’ profits go sky-high. 

It’s painful filling up at the gas station right now. Gas prices are up 40% from a year ago.

The average price Thursday was $4.18 a gallon in North Carolina, with prices slated to climb higher as the global oil market reacts to economic sanctions imposed on Russia for the unprovoked invasion into Ukraine.

But also climbing over the last year were the profits of major oil companies.

The nation’s top three oil companies — ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Marathon Petroleum — went from being in the red to taking in nearly $87.5 billion in profits last year, a new report from the corporate watchdog group Accountable.US found.

“Despite what they claim, these highly profitable businesses do have a choice, and they’re choosing to fatten their bottom line rather than keep consumer prices stable,” said Accountable.US president Kyle Herrig.

Things were so good that shareholders got over $4.5 billion in payouts as well, all while those of us pumping gas cringed most every time we had to fill up.

In fact, ExxonMobil, the largest US-based oil company, reported last month it finished out 2021 with its biggest profit in seven years, thanks to rising energy prices. And companies like Shell plan on using the upswing in oil and gas prices to pay out bigger dividends to shareholders, the company reported last month.

Gas prices are spiking for several reasons, including the effect the Russian military invasion of Ukraine is having on the global oil market as economic sanctions sink in.  The United States, for example, won’t be importing any Russian oil because of the unprovoked military invasion into Ukraine. 

But the struggle everyday consumers are facing to fill up their cars is coming in great contrast to the apparently good times investors at oil and gas companies are enjoying.


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