Drivers dig even deeper to finance big oil companies’ profit margin
Somehow, while Americans have been desperately hunting under their cars’ floor mats for spare change to fill their gas tanks, the world’s largest oil companies have pocketed record-breaking profits. According to the Associated Press, Exxon Mobil just posted "the second highest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company."
And it appears most of the oil companies that have been drilling into our bank accounts this year have enjoyed similar windfalls. Also according to AP, Shell, Conoco, BP and Chevron raked in double-digit profits of between 36 and 65 percent.
While the oil tycoons have been plumping up their bottom lines, everyone else, from airlines and trucking companies to school districts, have had to increase fees or beg, borrow and steal from other budget categories to stay in business.
Maybe we missed the memo that explained the hike from $2.50 per gallon to $3 was a contribution to the global oil executives’ retirement fund, but, it seems most Americans have been under the general impression that the rising price of gas was directly linked to two unavoidable factors: the war in the Middle East and a looming shortage of oil and gas resources.
Apparently the joke is on us and it is not amusing.
It is, however, one more incentive to more seriously consider buying a hybrid car, switching to bio-diesel fuel or following Mountain Trails Foundation’s advice and parking the car one day a week.
Park City Municipal Corporation recently took a big step forward in its commitment to petroleum independence by gassing up its public transit buses with bio-diesel fuel. The city has also been a strong proponent of trail systems and walkable communities. Summit County is getting into the spirit too by working with Park City to provide an expanded bus system.
But until regular citizens start throttling back on fuel consumption, it is likely that Exxon execs will continue pumping barrels of cash into their personal war chests and the rest of us will keep paying more to drive our kids to the doctor’s office, more for airline tickets to see relatives at Christmas and more for every T-shirt or case of soda that had to be trucked from a warehouse to a retail outlet.
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“Proponents should be honest about what they plan to put in a landfill,” writes Thomas Jacobson, “and everyone should understand the consequences if the geology and hydrology have not been properly studied.”