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Soaring oil industry profits are costing consumers at the gas pump

A woman fills her car with gas.
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The cost of regular gas and jumped from $2.24 a gallon one year ago to $3.59 last week in Utah, while oil and gas companies are reporting record profits.

As Utahns continue to endure some of the nation's highest gasoline prices, 24 of the top oil and gas corporations made nearly $174 billion in profits this year, with profits in the past three months alone topping $74 billion, according to a new report by Accountable.US.

Tony Carrk, executive director of Accountable.US, said top executives at Chevron and BP have privately boasted about redistributing what they view as "excess cash."

"Rather than giving American consumers a break at the pump, they're making all of this money in profits," Carrk asserted. "They seem to be very happy about taking that money and increasing the value of their stock, and the compensations for their executives."

A study from AAA showed the price of regular gas in Utah is currently $3.59, more than 60% higher than the same period in 2020. Oil and gas companies point to Biden administration efforts to mitigate climate change as a primary reason they have not been able to increase production.

Carrk pointed out much of the oil and gas industry's millions of acres already under lease for production remain untapped. He admitted there are a lot of moving parts involved in gasoline pricing, from supply chain issues to rising demand.

"But what can't be denied is that these higher gas prices, the executives themselves are saying, are helping increase their profits," Carrk emphasized. "Those profits are not being put to lower gas prices for you; they're going to lining their pockets."

Rising prices linked to profits are not just limited to the oil and gas industry. A recent Bloomberg report found corporate profit margins have hit their highest level since 1950.

Carrk believes corporate greed is a significant factor in what is fueling the nation's rising inflation rate.

"Most Americans see the higher prices at the pump, they see higher prices at the grocery store," Carrk observed. "People should be seeing where the money is going."

This year alone, eleven oil companies gave more than $36 billion in payouts to shareholders, while CEOs saw their pay rise by more than $10 million.