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An ExxonMobil pump is seen in Houston

An ExxonMobil gas pumping station is seen on June 9, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Biden Urged to Embrace Windfall Tax as Exxon Says Profits Doubled in Second Quarter

"It's time for the president to demand that Congress pass a windfall profits tax on Big Oil and use the revenue to provide rebates to consumers NOW!" wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson

ExxonMobil indicated in a securities filing submitted just ahead of the holiday weekend that its profits doubled in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the first three months of the year, potentially reaching as high as $18 billion as the fossil fuel behemoth takes advantage of Russia's war on Ukraine to push sky-high gas prices onto consumers.

The Wall Street Journal reported that while the company's new projections "aren't precise and exclude certain factors, including specific costs incurred by Exxon," the corporation's second quarter "could be its most lucrative in at least 25 years."

"Exxon said it expects refining margins to increase by as much as $4.6 billion in the second quarter, and rising prices for crude oil, gas, and other liquids contributing another increase of as much as $3.3 billion," the Journal noted.

Exxon's latest quarterly boon comes as the oil industry is facing backlash from Congress, the White House, and the public for war profiteering on the backs of U.S. consumers, who have seen gas prices surpass $7 a gallon in parts of the country. Intensifying the outrage and bolstering calls for an excess profits tax, oil companies have directed large chunks of their windfall to share buybacks, further enriching executives and investors.

At the end of the first quarter, Exxon—one of the world's most notorious climate villains—tripled its buyback program to $30 billion.

"As we head into the holiday weekend, Exxon is once again posting billions in record-breaking profits while hardworking Americans suffer at the pump," said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), the lead sponsor of windfall profits tax legislation in the House.

If passed, the measure would impose a new tax on profitable oil companies and use the revenue to pay out quarterly rebates to U.S. households.

"We need to pass my Big Oil Windfall Tax bill with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse to give working families a refund," Khanna said Saturday.

Despite the broad popularity of a windfall profits tax, President Joe Biden has thus far declined to push for one, largely resorting to pleading with oil companies to voluntarily bring down prices. He did so again in a tweet on Saturday, writing that "this is a time of war and global peril."

"Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you're paying for the product. And do it now," Biden demanded.

Instead of supporting a windfall profits tax, Biden last month urged Congress to approve a three-month suspension of federal gasoline and diesel taxes, a move that even members of his own administration concede would do little to bring down gas prices.

In response to the president's social media post on Saturday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote that "President Biden is right: The big oil companies must stop profiteering and bring down gas prices."

"But we need more than a tweet," added Sanders, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee. "It's time for the president to demand that Congress pass a windfall profits tax on Big Oil and use the revenue to provide rebates to consumers NOW!"

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