SANTA MONICA, California - July 28 - Chevron Corp. capped an orgy of oil-company quarterly record profits Friday with an 18 percent boost over last year to $4.4 billion, its highest one-quarter profit ever. What should really fuel the ire of U.S. motorists, however, is its 39 percent increase in domestic refining and marketing profits, which come most directly out of the pockets of people struggling to pay for $3.00-and-up gasoline nationwide, said the nonprofit, nonpartisan Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR).
BP, Conoco, Shell and ExxonMobil also hit records this week in part because of high refining profits, put at an average of $19.10 per barrel, or 44 cents per gallon, by analysts at JP Morgan. Chevron has a disproportionate impact in California because of its major presence in the nation's largest gasoline market, said FTCR.
"California drivers have every right to resent Chevron every time they stick one of its pumps in their tank," said Judy Dugan, research director for FTCR. "Its enormous boost in U.S. profits came as refining profits dropped overseas. What Chevron paid in taxes to benefit Europeans was made up on the backs of U.S. motorists, who paid record gasoline prices to benefit Chevron executives and big shareholders."
Chevron is also, to the tune of nearly $4 million so far, the lead funder of opposition to Proposition 87, the Clean Energy Initiative on California’s November ballot. The measure would fund research and commercial development of alternative fuels and diminish dependence on the oil giants. It would be paid for by a levy on oil drilling in California, something that all other major oil-producing states, including Texas, collect from drillers. Oil companies are prohibited from passing the levy on to consumers under the initiative.
"The successive record profits of the oil companies show that only outright greed drives their campaign against Prop 87," said Dugan. "Chevron and its partners in financing the opposition -- Shell, ExxonMobil and Occidental -- want no interference in their ability to pick the pockets of Californians, and no threats to their control of transportation fuels." Exxon, for instance, spends less than three-hundredths of one percent of its record profits on alternative energy, added FTCR.
A recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that as the pain of continued high gasoline prices gnaws at families, support for alternative energy and Proposition 87 in particular rises. A clear majority, 61 percent of those questioned, supported Prop 87 when its description was read to them. See http://www.Yeson87.org for more information.
FTCR also strongly supports Proposition 89, the Clean Elections Initiative, on the November ballot. The measure, sponsored by the California Nurses Association, would smother special interest lobbies' overwhelming influence on public policy by offering public funding for candidates and restricting donations.
"The oil lobby has killed or stalled all attempts to rein in oil company profiteering in California, including a well-crafted measure to expand the definition of price gouging that was initiated by Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer," said Dugan. "Proposition 89 would free politicians from that yoke of favors owed." See http://www.dirtymoneywatch.org for more on lobbyist influence and http://www.cleanmoneyelections.org/ for more on the initiative.