Mar 3, 2012

Obama Campaigning on Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies

You can either stand up for the oil companies, or you can stand up for the American people. You can keep subsidizing a fossil fuel that’s been getting taxpayer dollars for a century, or you can place your bets on a clean-energy future.”
Obama displays a chart about declining oil use at 
a campaign stop in New Hampshire last week.  

I find Obama's sudden stance against fossil fuel subsidization incredibly compelling. Reason #1 - we need a clean energy future today. Reason #2 - American Oil & Gas have the profits thing wired. Your gas prices are going up, but that ain't cause the Oil & Gas industry needs money. No, no, no. According to the Financial Times, America's top Oil & Gas companies are actually some of the world's most profitable companies. And that's not just true today. With minimal digging I've discovered that ExxonMobil has been the world's #1 most profitable company most of the last 10 years, with Chevron consistently in the global top 10 and Conocco generally in the top 50. There's more to this story.

Recent research (by me) shows Exxon, Mobil, Gulf Oil, Amoco, Texaco, Shell Oil, ChevronTexaco, and their various cousins, competitors and mergers have all consistently been on the Fortune 500's Top 20 Wealthiest American Companies since at least 1955, when Fortune started the list. Bullet point: Exxon, was America's #2 wealthiest company from 1955 to 1974, after General Motors. Then in 1975 Exxon finally made it to the #1 spot. Apparently one result of the US oil shock of 1973 was Exxon and the rest of the O&G industry made more money. Exxon slipped quietly into 1st place 1975 - 77. So while you or your relatives were scouring the country for a simple tank of gas, and President Carter was telling America to "put on a sweater," the Oil & Gas industry was purchasing bigger houses and blinger vacations.

Moreover, the Fortune list shows on average +60% of America's Top 20 Companies are either oil & gas specific or oil & gas dependent, e.g. Ford, Goodyear Tire, Boeing, since 1955. Not food, not electricity, not water, or entertainment or technology or media ... Oil.

To Obama's point: US Oil & Gas has been getting roughly 4x more federal tax payer subsidization than all other American energy industries since 1950. ... Since at least 1950?... To the everyman concern: Why are our gas prices going up even as the oil & gas industry gets the lion's share of subsidization, doesn't pay for pollution, imports less fuel to the United States, and continues increasing profits while earning less actual revenue? Why?


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