Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

A Chevron gas station is seen in Oregon

A price sign is seen at a Chevron gas station in West Linn, Oregon on March 11, 2022. (Photo: Getty Images)

'This Is Robbery': Chevron Profits Quadruple and Exxon's Double Amid Ukraine Crisis

"Big Oil is intentionally profiteering off the war in Ukraine," said one campaigner. "We need a Big Oil windfall profits tax."

Jake Johnson

Chevron and ExxonMobil announced Friday that their profits surged during the first quarter of 2022, prompting fresh calls for a windfall tax as the U.S.-based oil giants continue to exploit Russia's war on Ukraine to hike prices at the pump and lobby for more drilling.

"Letting polluters rake in obscene profits at the expense of consumers and the climate is simply unconscionable."

"This is robbery," Jamie Henn, director of Fossil Free Media, said in response to the new profit figures. "Big Oil is intentionally profiteering off the war in Ukraine—a crisis they helped create by working with Putin for decades to expand Russian oil and gas production."

"We need a Big Oil windfall profits tax," Henn added.

The first three months of 2022 marked a banner quarter for Chevron and Exxon, which respectively saw their profits quadruple and double compared to the previous year even as the U.S. economy contracted.

Chevron's profits soared to $6.3 billion—their highest level in a decade—as the company reaped benefits from the global energy market chaos spurred by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has sparked a "fossil fuel war" between Moscow and the West.

Exxon's profits, meanwhile, jumped to $5.5 billion, a number that would have been significantly higher had the company not shut down operations in Russia in response to the Ukraine war. Exxon announced that it would use the windfall to reward shareholders by tripling its stock buyback program to $30 billion.

"Consumers should not get punched in the face so that Big Oil can stuff its overflowing coffers," said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen. "There's no secret as to why their profits are soaring: Big Oil has fixed costs of production while the market price of oil is skyrocketing, thanks to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and other reasons. This is a classic situation of windfall profits."

The earnings reports came as U.S. oil giants faced mounting scrutiny from Democratic members of Congress, New York's attorney general, and climate campaigners for price-gouging consumers in an effort to extract as much profit as possible from Russia's devastating assault on Ukraine.

"Just imagining Exxon's and Chevron's executives toasting their record profits and laughing at how they've duped so many people into blaming climate action for high prices, when that's the only long-term solution to stop Big Oil gouging us at the pump," Henn wrote in a Twitter post on Friday.

To combat Big Oil's war profiteering, Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation in March that would impose "a per-barrel tax equal to 50% of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and the pre-pandemic average price per barrel between 2015 and 2019." Revenue from the tax would be paid out to U.S. consumers as a quarterly rebate.

Survey data released last month showed that the proposal is overwhelmingly popular, with 80% of U.S. voters—including 73% of Republicans—expressing support.

"If Congress bothered to tax windfall profits, these two companies would face a combined bill of $5.4 billion for just three months of war profiteering and price gouging," Lukas Ross, program manager at Friends of the Earth, said in a statement. "Letting polluters rake in obscene profits at the expense of consumers and the climate is simply unconscionable. It's time to send Big Oil an invoice."

Mitch Jones, managing director of policy at Food & Water Watch, sent a similar message, condemning oil giants for "cashing in on the global energy crunch, pinching American families, and sending excess profits back to shareholders and Wall Street speculators."

"This demands a policy response—namely, a windfall profits tax like the one introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, that would recover much of these ill-gotten gains and return them to struggling households," said Jones. "Lawmakers who complain about corporate concentration and inflation should do something about it—like tackling the damage being caused by polluting profiteers."

"Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer should bring this legislation forward for a vote," Jones added.

This story has been updated to include new comments from Public Citizen and Food & Water Watch.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·

'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·

Ginni Thomas Pressed Arizona Lawmakers to Reverse Biden's 2020 Win: Report

"Clarence Thomas' continued service on the Supreme Court is a scandalous and appalling breach of judicial ethics," said one observer. "He is implementing the exact same theories that his wife used to try to steal the 2020 election for Trump."

Brett Wilkins ·

Millions More Kids Going Hungry Since GOP, Manchin Killed Expanded Child Tax Credit

"Even brief disruptions in access to food can have lasting consequences," wrote the authors of a new analysis of worsening hunger among U.S. families.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo