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What do you think about Exxon Mobile’s record $40 billion profit?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on February 2, 2008

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Photo of Patricia Kowal

“I think that’s just obscene. I guess I want to know how they can post record earnings and not be held accountable, while the rest of us are being gouged at the gas pump.”

Photo of John Fales

“I think it’s unfair to keep raising prices when they are making money like that. I don’t think they’re hurting for money; they could give us a break.”

Photo of Will Eason

“It wouldn’t bother me if I thought that money was going to benefit people by making more jobs or helping out one of their average employees, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s going to line pockets higher up the chain.”

Photo of Samantha Rose

“It makes me feel like the oil companies and our government are cheating us. They’re exploiting everyone involved, and I don’t want to be the one paying for them to be able to do it.”

Comments

conservativepunker 7 years, 3 months ago

I think it's outstanding. Capitalism rules!!

sgtwolverine 7 years, 3 months ago

Has anyone noticed what gas costs in overseas? In a larger context, we're not being gouged.

imagold 7 years, 3 months ago

I get tired of the "overseas" argument. I don't live overseas. I live here in the middle of the USA where gas prices, and the domino effect it causes with the price of everything else I need to survive, are taking a rather big bite out of my income and my wages aren't going up enough to help cover the cost. We don't have the public transportation they have overseas. If living and transportation situations were the same in both places, then I'd be happy to hear the "overseas" argument, but they aren't.. Yes, knowing that oil companies are making billion dollar profits while I have to coose between gas to get to work and fruit$ and vegetable$ for my family, angers me.

I'd also be curious to know if gas prices overseas follow this often-seen pattern. Monday at six p.m. gas costs $2.72 per gallon. Tuesday at six a.m. gas costs $2.89 per gallon. Five-thirty the same day gas costs $2.85 per gallon. Sorry, but there is something fishy going on here.

ms_canada 7 years, 3 months ago

I noticed that a gallon of gas in Olathe is $2.90 approx. In Edmonton, at 98.8 per litre a gallon of gas would be $3.75. And Edmonton has one of the lowest prices per litre in Canada. Every time I fill my tank, I shell out $50. And you know what? Edmonton is the oil capital of Canada. When I look out my living room window, a little to the left, I see several oil refineries' cracking towers. Right across the river from me, they are refining that oil and I pay more for my gas than you Kansas folk do, so don't complain too much. How would you like to pay $1.29 per litre? That is what folks in Yellowknife and Labrador have to pay.

labmonkey 7 years, 3 months ago

Quit complaining about Exxon's profits. If it weren't for Exxon and the money they made (and the $20 billion they spend on research to find new fields), gas would be much higher. Plus they make less than $0.20 profit per gallon of gas which I think is reasonable considering so much money and infrastructure goes into making that gallon of gas.

If people want to complain about something...how about we look at ourselves. Drive less, bike more, drive more fuel efficient vehicles (and why is it everytime there is a story on television news, they interview some d-bag filling up their Tahoe.....that person DESERVES $5.00/gallon gas). Quit shopping at places like Walmart where we only help the Chinese ecomony and help fuel their demand for oil. When you buy an item, look at where it's made and start demanding American made items. Sure they are more expensive, but you help our economy and there was probably less fuel used to get that item to you.

kansas80 7 years, 3 months ago

How many of you have retirement accounts? Exxon is a company whose stock is widely distributed among most mutual funds.This benefits all shareholders.This company has a responsibility to its shareholders to make as much profit as possible.Also consider that Exxon is a company that employs thousands of workers,whose paychecks directly benefit the economy.Stop complaining about gas prices and join the american dream,by working harder,longer hours(no law exists to limit you to a 40 hour work week),or a second job.Remember,education does wonders for raising your standard of living.

Fishman 7 years, 3 months ago

It doesn't seem that much to me. Yes, it's a ton of money, but they are a huge corporation. I can't remember the revenue right now that it took them to make that much but I think it came out to about 7-8% was profit. 5% is a corporate average. So they are over that this time, but not by so much that it is very high. Also, as for the argument overseas. Be glad you have a car. The reason they have so much transportation is because they have no way to afford a car in most of those countries, let alone put gas in it. I'm sure if you asked them they'd be glad to trade places with you. I like getting somewhere fast as much as the next person, not to mention the convenience of having a car. Nobody made me buy a car, and nobody keeps me from riding my bicycle, or walking to where I need to go. Maybe we'll see more people riding their bicycles this summer, but somehow I doubt it. We'll just keep complaining about the price of gas when we could be walking. God knows this country needs more exercise, just look at all the large people driving around chomping on a double cheeseburger, and drinking sugared sodas. Duh...

inklines 7 years, 3 months ago

How much of this profit will be spent researching and developing alternative (and renewable) energy sources that replace or supplement their oil cash cow?

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 3 months ago

I have benefited personally by the high price of oil. I sell equipment to companies that are manufacturing products used in the oil industry. Much of it is being exported which is even better for our economy. So I don't want some politician to come in and politicize the issue so he can capitalize on it in a populist type political campaign. What is the ideal price which can spur investment in such technologies as the Oil Shale in Colorado? Is it $3 or $4 or $5?

Big Oil is not looking into the future on our behalf. They are becoming VARs (Value Added Resalers) working for the "Parent Companies" of OPEC and it is good business with less risk.

There is simply no leadership on the energy issues of the day. It reminds me very much of the Katrina debacle. Watching the victims suffering on the streets of New Orleans while the President did nothing.

Heres a good link. http://www.newsweek.com/id/70958

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

They are required to make profits, but they are going to bring down our economy doing it, and no one will profit in the end. We have had to cut back on buying other things, because of the change in gas prices, and we don't own a gas guzzler. So that slows the economy, and because of higher transport costs, the price of everything goes up. Recession with inflation. Sounds like the 70's to me. Oh yeah, that was caused by oil companies too. They've got us by the proverbial balls. If we had a lot of mass transit options, like Europe, then high prices wouldn't be a problem. And I'm guessing a lot of the reason for the difference in price is to punish them for having public transport. The oil companies put in a lot of money to prevent laws requiring more efficient gas mileage. These cars exist. In countries whose governments aren't owned by the oil companies there are cars that get very good gas mileage. But, like sheep, everyone follows the ads on TV, that tell you that your life will be wonderful if you own an SUV. And, of course, we all know that only poor homeless people use public transport.

ms_canada 7 years, 3 months ago

I like the thinking of people like labmonkey, fishman and others. We, on this planet, live like there will be no tomorrow. My husband fumes when he sees those big SUVs in the streets. We really are non-thinking people. We drive 4 or 5 blocks to pick up what we could easily carry from the supermarket. We eat all wrong. We sit on our duffs in front of the idiot box munching on soda and chips. Then we go to the doctor and ask him to fix our self-induced ailments. But will higher gas prices change our way of mobility. Not likely. We humans never do anything unless compelled to do so. Using shanks pony and a two wheeler (where possible) would do wonders to improve our physical condition bot to mention reducing the cost of medicare, clean the atmosphere and just give us all a better outlook on life. Oh my gosh, is that me dreaming again!!!!

cutny 7 years, 3 months ago

You know Sgt....I haven't noticed what gas cost overseas, because I DON'T CARE WHAT GAS COSTS OVERSEAS. Why? Because I don't drive overseas. Talk about seeing the larger context of the issue. Often the larger context is in your own town.

ndmoderate 7 years, 3 months ago

With profits like this, why do they deserve tax breaks?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

Capitalism means competition. There are now only a few oil companies, and believe me, they aren't bothering to compete. They might as well be one company. They also own our government, so they discourage incentives for alternative energy sources. This is robber baron capitalism and that led to Karl Marx. We continue to swing back and forth between the extremes. Why can't we have some responsible capitalist who want to support a strong middle class, and help up as many lower income people as possible (yes, some of them are just lazy, but some just need a leg up). People's pensions aren't going to mean much, if prices rise, because of higher transportation. In the end they will lose, because their profit will be wiped out by a failed economy. Even Henry Ford realized if his workers didn't earn enough money to buy a car, an affordable car, then he would go out of business. If the middle class is destroyed, they will open the door to the other extreme. People will end up following the next Karl Marx.

toefungus 7 years, 3 months ago

Is their profit enough to change the way you use fuel? If not, the price is not yet high enough,

Sigmund 7 years, 3 months ago

XOM's stock price is up 150% over the last five years. They find, drill, refine, and deliver energy to a corner near you all for under $3.00 per gallon. With 42 cents / gallon in tax, the State of Kansas makes far more money on that gallon of gas and does nothing to provide it. So it is not the XOM shareholders who are making obscene profits on a gallon of gas, it's the State of Kansas, you and me.

When gas is too cheap we waste it, we buy bigger less efficient vehicles than we need. Like bus companies and the City of Lawrence who buy huge buses and drive them on all over town with only a couple of people on board. The higher the price of gas the more we conserve, we become more economical with its use which is more ecological.

The rest of the world pays far more for gas, and while we don't live in the rest of the world everyone else does, which is a lot. Generally they pay far more for their gas and so they tend to buy vehicles that use less. As China begins to modernize their demand has skyrocketed driving the price of oil to record levels. Add the US laws against drilling for oil and building more refineries and it is/was inevitable the price of gas would reach an inflation adjusted price of the late 70's late 80's. Our economy survived it then and it will now.

So while XOM's stock price is up 150% in five years it has nothing to do with the greed of the oil company shareholders. World demand for oil, environmental restrictions, gas taxes, and gas that has been too cheap for too long is the reason. If you want to see a REAL example corporate greed and obscene profits for shareholders, AAPL profits are up 2500% percent over the same time period. And now you know where Al Gore got all his money to fly around the world on private jets and scream at us for using too much oil, he is on the Board of Directors. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=AAPL&t=5y&l=off&z=l&q=l&c=xom

djgratt59 7 years, 3 months ago

I would say: it's time to move to Houston!! :) :) :) :)

johnsou 7 years, 3 months ago

Boo Hooo!!! Exxon isnt making enough money, If they dont make more money then Jobs will be lost, and they charge even more Overseas.. How about My Daddy Is a Head Honcho at Exxon and I dont want anybody taking away my Huge Trust Fund!! Or I love George Bush and anything that happens to Oil prices and the economy while he is in office I worship him for it..

These sound like the real answers but instead we just have a bunch of Winy babies trying to rationalize the economy and the Insane gas prices. How about we goverment mandate the prices of gas and penalize oil companies who price gouge and we spend Billions a year researching alternative energy sources instead of Ruining our country Overseas killing lives while the goverment and oil companies get rich.

Thank God for an Election coming up and out with our Nazi Regime.

jumpin_catfish 7 years, 3 months ago

socialist whiners, walk if don't like it or ride a bike or get a smaller car or car pool. companies are in business to make money for their shareholders so buy some exxon stock.

Logan5 7 years, 3 months ago

There are few bigger proponents of free market capitalism than Alan Greenspan, yet he claims our price for a gallon of gas is unfairly fixed. The price of gas should reflect its true costs, i.e., government subsidies, tax breaks, and the Iraq war. He favors a $3/gal. tax to be phased in over 10 years to bring the price in line with reality. I tend to agree, since I only drive 5,000 miles/year.

gccs14r 7 years, 3 months ago

Bring back the Windfall Profits Tax.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 3 months ago

Boone Pickens, in his autobiography, makes a point that these oil companies are headed by a group of men who are very privileged, very inefficient (and not concerned about shareholders), and very clickish (as in hiding their indiscretions from the public eye). They are wealthy and powerful and protected by governments around the world. The idea that a "free market" has encouraged the best and most efficient distribution of energy resources and the best way to discover more of these resources is becoming more and more an obsolete idea in my view. The fact of the matter is that we now know where most of the oil is. So the advantage of giving incentives to oil companies to "search for oil" is becoming less and less justified.

The scarcity of supply is in part manufactured by these oil companies because they refuse to build more refineries. They know this will increase the supply and lessen their ability to manipulate prices.

We are going to have to rethink our way of working with big oil because times are changing. It is time to look into these companies and let the public know the real story so that we can all rethink how we work with them because they affect everything in our lives.

It is obvious to any clear thinking person that the Iraq war was started based on oil. Period. We had obsolete political philosophies and neanderthal thinking leading us into this OIL war. But thankfully, the American people are starting to get it right. Why the resistance to wind power and other exciting clean technologies? Why do our cars burn too much gas?

It is not always about our decisions related to driving and where we are going to shop, it is also about who we elect to lead us.

jumpin_catfish 7 years, 3 months ago

Please remember inflation folks, our current price spike is painful but not at historic highs. Those of us who remember the 1970s and high prices with shortages. We must free ourselves from so much foreign dependence and get on the cutting edge of innovation again. This is America folks, we can do it and it is happening even as we speak. The socialist nut jobs will continue to spew their doom and gloom while capitalist will see opportunities and will invest to make it happen.

jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

"right_thinker (Anonymous) says:

Good post R_I. The simple association of Exxon Mobil to W and Dick is the real story in this case for the majority of the LJW neighborhood."

You've got this causality mixed up in your head to run the wrong direction. It was Dick and W's close ties with the oil companies, long perceived, rightly or wrongly, as the great evil of our nation, that was a prime cause of distrust and fear towards W and Dick in the first place.

gphawk89 7 years, 3 months ago

That being said, the oil companies have realized by now that the public will still buy gas at the current price levels, so what incentive do they have to lower it?

mom_of_three 7 years, 3 months ago

Never been much of an economics student, but I thought gas prices went up because the costs to make it went up. If so, why did they make such a large profit?

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 3 months ago

Do we really believe that President Bush, a Texas oilman born and bred, and Dick Cheney, former CEO of Halliburton are doing everything in their power to end our dependence on foreign oil or decrease our usage of oil?

We are seeing the results before our eyes.

Did Ford and GM make gas guzzling cars because that is what the public wanted? They say it was because of market studies. Toyota also studies the market and now they are one of the leaders by producing and marketing cars with better gas mileage. Honda is also there.

It is time to stop running with the Lemmings and stop believing so much of the rhetoric out there.

inventrix 7 years, 3 months ago

As a Chemical Engineer I will tell you that these petroleum companies are doing more business today then they have ever done in history, hence the "historic" profits. These companies are certainly not held to the highest safety standards, and they have failed to invest heavily in alternative energy, probably because the government acts as their agent in securing overseas oil. BUT, having more expensive gasoline in America is a truly great thing. I was shocked to hear that the REPUBLICAN plan for a flat tax return for all Americans was rejected. It is the only thing that makes any sense, because it rewards those of us who use bikes/hondas/public transportation, while having a negligible effect on the gas bills of all the idiots out there who buy giant trucks and SUV's. HIGH GAS PRICES ARE NOT YOUR ENEMY, THEY ARE YOUR FRIEND. IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO ENFORCE INVESTMENT IN ALTERNATIVE ENERGY AND GAS-EFFICIENT VEHICLES. WE SHOULD HAVE ENFORCED MANDATORY HIGH PRICES IN THE 70S. Environmentalists know better then to get mad about high gas prices, you should all be upset about Bank of America and JPChase, those Banksters make as much money as Walmart, and all they do is gouge poor people on credit card percentages. There are countless DVD's about this subject: Maxxed Out, The Corporation, and others. And if you haven't read any Noam Chomsky yet - buy his book Failed States today, it will change your perspectives forever, which is about the only hope that Kenya and the third world have at this point. The UN resolution outlining the US' failure to support democracies - that is something truly worth your energy and anger.

Sigmund 7 years, 3 months ago

The problem with raising gas taxes, a flat consumption tax, is that it hurts the poor more than the middle class, and the middle class harder than the wealthy. Even with that if the only impact of raising the gas tax was to reduce gas use I might support it, but that is not the case. Every dollar paid in gas tax would be a dollar taken out of the economy leaving less available for food, buying more efficient cars, tuition, well you get the idea.

The federal gas tax is 18 cents per gallon now. If we doubled that to 36 cents and reduce the income tax, a "progressive" tax, by the total amount raised, keeping it out of the hands of politicians and big spending congress and presidents of all parties, returning that money back into the hands of the people, I would be more likely to support it.

kansas778 7 years, 3 months ago

American Airlines has $29,500,000,000 in assets, and doesn't even make a profit every quarter, yet new airlines enter the business. Apparantly it isn't a prohibitive barrier to getting into a slightly profitable business, what about a business recording record profits?

domino 7 years, 3 months ago

labmonkey & others --- you need to realize that not everyone lives in urban areas! Have friends who live in a rural area - she is driving a car that gets 30 mpg - husband drives smal size pickup that gets 20-25 - husband has almost 30 years in with his job, so is looking at retiring in the next 1-2 years - their small town has a grocery store, drug store and enough other places they can get most of their daily needs. One thing they do not have is any type of clothing store. For that, they have to drive about 30 miles to the next biggest town that has a WalMart or 75 miles to a town that has a Mall. There are no busses, taxi's and no place to work that really has much of a "car pool" ability. She often walks to work (about 20 min one way) when the weather is decent, but in Kansas, you know how that can be!

Some people (including their kids) have tried to get them to move to a more urban area, but with the husband being retirement age, no one is going to hire him in a bigger area. She makes ok money in her job, but, as many women in her age group, was a stay-at-home-mom until their kids were well into school. Their house is paid for, but they couldn't sell it for enough to buy a house in an urban area and certainly can't afford house payments when they retire. The only "vactions" they have taken in years are to go spend a weekend (usually once a month or so) with one of their children & their families - all of who are 3+ hours away from them.

Your "Drive less, bike more, drive more fuel efficient vehicles (and why is it everytime there is a story on television news, they interview some d-bag filling up their Tahoe:..that person deserves $5.00/gallon gas). Quit shopping at places like Walmart ..." comment may apply to some, but for others, they already are doing these things, but don't always have other options.

TheBurf 7 years, 3 months ago

"I think that's just obscene. I guess I want to know how they can post record earnings and not be held accountable, while the rest of us are being gouged at the gas pump."

Who do they need to be held accountable for? Its supply and demand. Shut up, Shut up, Shut up. You want lower gas prices? Quit being hippies and build more refineries.

BigPrune 7 years, 3 months ago

Let's not forget that the Federal Government makes more money off of gasoline than Big Oil.

Sigmund 7 years, 3 months ago

If the US government acts as agent in securing overseas oil for US companies, who acts in the interest of non-US oil companies in securing their oil? Truth is ALL governments act as agents in securing their countries oil. Why do we only want to punish US oil company shareholders and US consumers and give Royal Dutch, British Petroleum, China Petroleum all a pass?

Truth is, all oil companies from all countries pay about the same amount for their oil and have a near identical cost of refining and transportation. Destroy the US companies and it merely benefits foreign oil companies. You think that shipping manufacturing jobs overseas hurt your country, just wait till the profits from gas goes to foreign corporations and their shareholders. You will look back at 2008 as the "good old days!"

Another impact of higher gas prices is it encourages LOTS more exploration and makes drilling and refining shale oil economically viable. The amount of proven reserves of oil locked in shale in North America dwarfs the amount of sweet crude in all of the United Arab Emirates, it is just a bit more expensive to refine. With gas at $3.00 per gallon all that shale becomes much more viable and is much closer to home.

been_there 7 years, 3 months ago

Well since we pay less for gas than other countries but alot more for medicine and medical care I guess we can even it out by driving to Canada and Mexico for medicine and medical care. I hear people save a lot of money flying to India for operations even if they have insurance, and dental care is very inexpensive in Mexico. People in states boardering Mexico drive there regularly for perscription medicine because it is cheaper and it doesn't show up in their medical records driving up the cost of their medical insurance.

TheBurf 7 years, 3 months ago

Buy Exxon Mobile stock. You could get a share of that 40 Billion.

Sigmund 7 years, 3 months ago

TheBurf (Anonymous) says: "Buy Exxon Mobile stock. You could get a share of that 40 Billion."

Some of the largest shareholders in Exxon Mobile are teacher retirement funds, police retirement funds, firefighter retirement funds, and mutual funds in individual IRA's. I would bet that every employee at KU, State of Kansas, and City of Lawrence who is saving for retirement via KPERS is reaping those "obscene profits" from XOM..

ralphralph 7 years, 3 months ago

Didn't we break this trust a long time ago? Why have we allowed it to regenerate? Bigger isn't always better, especially with oil. Bust the Trust.

Ralph Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

domino (Anonymous) writes: "Quit shopping at places like Walmart :" comment may apply to some, but for others, they already are doing these things, but don't always have other options."


You're correct, others don't always have those options. I'm lucky enough to be in a car pool. If I weren't I could no longer afford the commute. I attribute this really to the price of gasoline.

Now before tr and others jump all over me for this, read my thoughts.


From the Department of Energy. The average gallon price of gasoline across the US increased from $2.165 on 29 Jan 07 to $2.977 on 28 Jan 08. (http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/twip/twip_gasoline.html)

That's an increase of 37.5% (81.2 cents) over the course of a year. During the same period, crude oil spot prices increased $53.38 to $90.37 per barrel. That's an increase of about 59.3% ($36.79) per barrel. The estimated contract prices were only slightly lower, but the percentage increase was almost spot on. Now, taking those increases in mind, attend to this. These increases affect all of us not only at the gas pump, but also virtually everywhere else. The cost of transporting goods increased - that cost is passed on to us. The cost of manufacturing increased - again passed on to us. Even the cost of transporting gasoline has increased, which is passed on to us. Et cetera ad infinitum (or ... ad absurdum - take your pick). Essentially we are hit in almost every aspect of our lives, not just at the pump.

There are some here who say this increase is good, because it is an example of the capitalistic free market at work. If this were true, true competition would exist in the market. Remember the gas wars from 45 and more years ago? True competition does in fact not exist. Instead of many oil companies, there are now only a few that control the oil flow and thereby a large part of our economy: Exxon-Mobile, Conoco-Phillips and British Petroleum to name three. I don't doubt they talk with each other as they all seeming raise prices at the same time, at the same time of day and for almost the same amount. Capitalistic cooperation at work (said with a slight bit of sarcasm). Additionally, we pay for any difficulties the oil companies have. BP's prices are always a few cents higher than the other companies because we are paying for their settlements from their March 2005 fire at Texas City and the "safety" improvements made during the following months. BP even set aside about $1 billion for the settlements; that money came out of our pockets. (continued)

Ralph Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

(continued from above) Back to domino's comment I quoted. Some do not have the options of riding a bike, shopping at less expensive stores and so on because of location. Given the cost of moving, they can't relocate some don't want to at retirement age. There are posters above who say they're well off and have no worries. I applaud you. However, that does not give you the right to p**s on those who are not as well off. You may deplore the fact they are in a horribly tenuous position, but that does not give you the right to denigrate them or their situation.


right_thinker (Anonymous) writes:

"Good post R_I. The simple association of Exxon Mobil to W and Dick is the real story in this case for the majority of the LJW neighborhood. You may be rebuked for attacking computer nerd stuff. I wonder if the same wonderful LJW neighbors will be willing to scold you about Bank of America, for they engage in blatant racial profiling?

Mr. Johnson, American national, calls for info, he presses #1 and is required to recite his SS#, Mr. Juarez, illegal alien calls, he presses #2 and is not required to give any such information.

God Bless America."


rt Please stay on topic. I can't count the times I and others have been loudly chastised at for bringing up a subject that is definitely "off topic". If you wish to start a discussion on illegal immigration, then open a blog or write a letter to the editor. Just a comment on the quote above; it is blatantly racist and gives hard evidence of racial profiling on your part.

ri did have a good "on topic" comment in comparing the oil company profits to those of other large corporations. I see nothing wrong with comparing Exxon-Mobile (EM) to other large corporations. Though I would like see the source of his/her information. Expanding the EM profit discussion to compare theirs with other companies shows me just how much of our economy is controlled by just a few large corporations. This could lead to discussion on true capitalism vs corporate capitalism, which is a good subject for a blog.


I'm me. Who are you behind your hood of anonymity?

ilikestuff 7 years, 3 months ago

There's a big difference between rising gas prices here and high gas prices in other places like Europe. As many European governments are more socialistic, gas is expensive b/c the tax on it pays for many more government services. Here, prices are high so a very few jerks can get insanely rich at the expense of the general public. Our prices go up and up and are more expensive than ever, as a result those few people get insanely rich or more insanely rich. There are no new services being provided to us by our government as a result of the higher gas prices. We're being gouged or robbed or whatever you can think of to describe what's happening to us. Where's our government to step in and protect us? Yeah, right.

Evan Ridenour 7 years, 3 months ago

Something that is being left out of this is the fact that while they may have posted 40 billion in profit that it is a really small percent of their revenue.

It isn't like they are making 50% profit or anything...

Sigmund 7 years, 3 months ago

ilikestuff (Anonymous) says: "Here, prices are high so a very few jerks can get insanely rich at the expense of the general public."

I think you meant to say, "Here, prices are so LOW ..." Here is what the "general public" pays for gas (mid 2007) in most of the rest of the world. BTW, who are the "non-general public" that pay a different price for gas???

United Kingdom $8.37 Netherlands $7.52 Norway $7.33 Belgium $6.95 Denmark $6.95 Germany $6.72 Portugal $6.65 Finland $6.57 France $6.50 Sweden $6.50 Hungary $5.63 Poland $5.63 Slovakia $5.59 Austria $5.40 Ireland $5.40 Slovenia $5.36 Switzerland $5.17 Spain $5.14 Czech Republic $5.10 Greece $4.91 Italy $4.80 Lithuania $4.72 Latvia $4.61 Estonia $4.30 Luxembourg $4.27 Japan $4.16 United States $2.88

The "general public" that owns XOM's 5 BILLION shares are income taxed when they receive their dividends and sales taxed when they spend it. So the profit of XOM is taxed when earned, dividends and interest are taxed when they are paid, and a third time when it is spent. That $40 billion is taxed two and three times.

That isn't socialistic enough for you?!?!?!?!

Ralph Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

DirtyLinen (Anonymous) writes: "Just out of curiosity, what business are some of you in that you'd welcome the government stepping in and telling you how much you're allowed to make because your customers (who keep buying your product) started whining you charge too much?"


It doesn't matter what business you're in. In a true market economy, the price is determined by two things. The first is what customers are willing to pay and the second is commodity availability. If you charge too much, customers go elsewhere and buy things for a lower price. This is assuming the commodity is not a necessity. Hence, that part of the market is self-regulating based on supply and demand.

Oil and gasoline however, have become necessities without which our society cannot survive; the same with medical care and so on. 3 or 4 large corporations appear to control that portion of our economy because they are able to set prices for necessities. There is enough difference in their prices so they can skirt the ant-trust laws, not that the government would bring charges against them. We, the consumers should be able to tell the oil companies what we will pay, but we don't have that strength: emotional strength; financial strength; intesitnal fortitude; and so on.

We're caught between a rock and a hard place of our own making and are a little bit like the frog in boiling water. The heat has been turned up slowly enough that we don't feel the change in temperature until it's too late, and we boil to death.


I'm me. Who are you behind your hood of anonymity?

Sigmund 7 years, 3 months ago

RalphReed (Ralph Reed) says: "Oil and gasoline however, have become necessities without which our society cannot survive; the same with medical care and so on. 3 or 4 large corporations appear to control that portion of our economy because they are able to set prices for necessities."

Where is your evidence that Big Oil is conspiring to provide US consumers with lower prices for gas than most of the rest of the world pays? We should declare them First Among Equals of the Collective Citizens of the Socialists States of America, and then give them a medal!

Kat Christian 7 years, 3 months ago

Iamgold I've been saying this about gas prices on 9th street for months now. Talk about gouging. I call this selective gouging. They know when people will be on the street so they jack up the price of gas during that time. You bet on Friday evening the gas will be higher in the evening then in the morning because they know a lot of folks will be out and about at that time. Plus during games it will go up again. There ought to be a law.

ilikestuff 7 years, 3 months ago

Please accept my apologies for my previous post on this thread. After reading the posts which followed mine and noting their general disagreement I realized my earlier post had been written in frustration. The content was much more emotional than factual.

I did a bit of research and found a CNN article from May, 2007 which makes my point much better than I can. Enjoy.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/21/news/international/europe_gas/index.htm

"Lower wholesale prices, which would mean less profits for oil firms, combined with a higher tax could transfer money from Big Oil to the government, which could then use the cash for public programs.

Consumers would have to pay the same amount - or even more than now - but at least that extra cash could be returned to them in some way."

trollkiller 7 years, 3 months ago

Here's what I think. Everyone should have a maximum of 8 lines for posting and one post per article.

For those of you who begin your post with, "__(Anonymous) says", I yawn and skip reading your post.

Ralph Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

ilikestuff (Anonymous) writes: "Please accept my apologies for my previous post on this thread. After reading the posts which followed mine and noting their general disagreement I realized my earlier post had been written in frustration. The content was much more emotional than factual."


That happens to all of us ils. Good research and a good reference from CNN. My only comment is there is public transportation across most of Europe. We do not have that here. I truly believe that if we supported public transporation we would not have the need for gasoline that we now have. This brings up the matter of choice raised by Dirty Linen. A one sentence digest might be, "We have this problem because we choose to have this problem." Am I correct DL? Our choice has been to forgo public transportation in most of the country and use the private automobile instead. Many larger than others. I mentioned I am lucky enough to be in a car pool. DL might say that is because I made the choice to do that and I agree. I also see that many more choose not to participate in a car pool than do choose to. Occassionally I count how many cars have one passenger vs those with more than one passenger during a commute. Right now it's about 20% carpool. You get about the same if you stand at 23rd and Mass or Barker when the traffic hits Lawrence at the end of the day; again, a choice on their part. So, looking at the problem regarding what you two have posted, could we agree that we're here because we chose to be. Now, what can we do about it? Good posts both of you. It's nice to see decent discussion here.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 3 months ago

Has anyone else ever thought it curious that every country that our oil companies have been involved heavily in since the early part of the 20th century have now become "difficult". Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, etc.

Seems our historical approach to foreign policy as it relates to oil has not been very successful.

They never mentioned in grade school that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was probably encouraged by the intense international competition for control of oil resources. A resource which the US had plenty and still wanted more. Japan has no oil. I am not saying it was all about oil, it was mostly about Japanese militarism, but oil was the large strategic issue in play. My point is that the oil issue has been a major component of much of our foreign policy. Imagine if we could lower our dependence on it.

I think if we elect oil men or oil industry supporters we will get more of the same. If we elect reasonable people we will get cars with better gas mileage, investment in alternative energy resources and more sane foreign policies.

Opening up the Alaskan oil fields and developing off shore oil fields may indeed become necessary, but if that is the first, best and only plan, we are getting ripped off by big oil and their friends in government.

When a free market economy is working properly it is a beautiful thing, but then I think you need a Roosevelt type leader to fix it when it breaks.

The politicians never do anything until it becomes an issue with traction. So lets get mad about it and stay mad until we get some change.

kansas778 7 years, 3 months ago

RalphReed (Ralph Reed) says:

We, the consumers should be able to tell the oil companies what we will pay,


And we do. Every time you fill up with gas, you tell the oil companies that the price they charge is what you are willing to pay. If it costs too much, move closer to your job. I don't want Big Brother coming in to tell the oil companies what to charge in the name of the consumers. That will only lead to shortages and gas lines.

For those of you looking for someone to "blame" for why Exxon is making so much money, ask yourself, if there is that much money to be made, why aren't other companies popping up to try and get a piece of this cash cow? It's because the oil companies have both parties in their back pockets, making sure there are barriers for new companies to compete. If apples started selling for $30 a pound, people everywhere would starting growing apples because there would be so much profit in it. Gas prices have gone up, but where are the new oil companies trying to get some of that profit? They're locked out.

jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

As for the question, I don't think that most people have enough information to put this figure into the proper context in which to understand it. Going by the thread itself, I didn't see much to dissuade me of that view.

gphawk89 7 years, 3 months ago

"Has anyone noticed what gas costs in overseas? In a larger context, we're not being gouged."

Yes, I just returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia and noticed that 95 octane gas cost about $0.50 per gallon. We are being gouged.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 3 months ago

I am sorry to everyone for getting upset about this issue.

Here are some positive ideas.

A couple of good books to read there are many..

"The Prize", by Daniel Yergin. "Boone", by T. Boone Pickens, Jr.

Visit the Kansas Oil Museum in El Dorado. The Kansas oil history is fascinating and incredible.

I have fond memories of sitting out under the stars, watching my Dad in the "dog house" of a drilling rig and exciting expectation of a gusher shooting into the midnight skies of Kansas. The sound of the drill and the smell of oil, oily faced powerful men working in a potentially dangerous environment. Only the very strong are are invited.

We need to try to offer incentives to small oil companies and entrepreneurs that want to redevelop some of these fields because most of the oil is still in the ground, just harder to get and not in as large of volumes coming out. This would be good for Kansas and good for our country.

TheOriginalCA 7 years, 3 months ago

The quarter after Hurricane Katrina, the oil companies recorded a record profit. Nuff said.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 3 months ago

The OriginalCA said:

"The quarter after Hurricane Katrina, the oil companies recorded a record profit. Nuff said."

Amen.

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years, 3 months ago

If you don't want Exxon to reap big profits the solution is simple: Go to Sunflower Bikes and get yourself a vehicle that doesn't use gas. You need to work-off that beer gut anyway.

kansas778 7 years, 3 months ago

OK Dirty, it's not because of the government, but you then link to an article containing these: U.S. District Court in Arizona U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Wellton-Mohawk Transfer Act National Environmental Policy Act National Historic Preservation Act

Yep, nothing whatsoever to do with the government.

And I'll get started on my oil business after you show me how cheap and easy it is to get a commercial passenger airline going. And what's with cherry-picking a tiny airplane? A Boeing 747 can cost up to $300 million. http://www.boeing.com/commercial/prices/

Ralph Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

kansas778 (Anonymous) writes: "RalphReed (Ralph Reed) says: We, the consumers should be able to tell the oil companies what we will pay,


And we do. Every time you fill up with gas, you tell the oil companies that the price they charge is what you are willing to pay. If it costs too much, move closer to your job. I don't want Big Brother coming in to tell the oil companies what to charge in the name of the consumers. That will only lead to shortages and gas lines." /***/end quote/*/ Kansas778. If you read the rest of my two posts above, you'll see the rest of the sentence says, "...but we don't have that strength: emotional strength; financial strength; intesitnal fortitude; and so on." I also indicate that the oil companies are able to skirt the anti-trust laws because of their price differences. They learned from Standard Oil about 1911. Nowhere do I say I want Big Brother to set the oil prices for us. We live in enough of a Big Brother society right now that we have chosen to live in. (But that's a subject for later.)

I agree that we tell the oil companies what to charge because we pay what they charge. However, I contend that it's not paid willingly; it is a necessity; much like clean air, clean water and so on. This is simply because of the choices we, as a society made.

You also indicated that if I don't like the cost of commuting, I should move closer to my job. I gave an answer to that in the post you quoted. "Some do not have the options of riding a bike, shopping at less expensive stores and so on because of location. Given the cost of moving, they can't relocate some don't want to at retirement age." For a myriad of reasons, some going beyond choice, many people can't move and must stay where they are. I say ans have said that a choice we can make is to institued good mass transit. That would cut down on the cost of commuting. However, that would require a conscious choice on our part as a societ. Hmmm, there's that pesky word again, "choice".


gphawk89. As an example, Iran no longer has the refining capacity because it's refineries has fallen apart. So, it imports gasoline at $2 a gallon and until May 2007 sold it to the people at 34 cents a gollon. In may 2007 they raised the price by 24% and instituted rationing. Yes, gasoline is inexpensive there, but it is also costing the countries a lot of money; to the point of almost bankruptcy in the case of Iran.


jayhawklawrence has a good idea, that of offering incentives to small companies to reopen the oil wells in Kansas. I like the idea as it would give us breathing room until something better is developed. However, given our current government policies, do you really think those incentives would go to small companies?


DirtyLinen. Read you last post. Sorry for breaking the spell.


(continued)

Ralph Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

(continued)


An update on an interest survey regarding our form of city government. I'm still trying to find an online survey system that is: free; will let me ensure that the respondents are from Lawrence and not some other city; will provide me a secure method of obtaining names and emails so I can respond when I set up a meeting. This last is an important thing because if a petition is put up asking for the matter to be put on the next ballot, the only signatures that can count are those of registered voters (I think that's right).

kansas778 7 years, 3 months ago

Quit being hysterical. Of course you never said starting an airline was cheap and easy, just like I never said starting an oil business was cheap and easy. Yet you implied that I did when you said "By all means, kansas778, get yourself a hardhat and go out and start an oil business. We're all waiting anxiously for you to show us how it's done."

I also never said that startup airlines were running with a fleet of 747s. Please refrain from putting words in my mouth and creating a straw person you can lampoon. If you are having such a hard time understanding my point in bringing up the price of 747s then I don't think it's worth trying to explain it.

I find your view of how the government works to be interesting. Apparantly, when the government denies a permit to drill for oil, it is merely "involved." I always thought the power to approve or deny a permit meant "controls." My bad, thanks for the civics lesson!

RedwoodCoast 7 years, 3 months ago

Well, I think those businessmen deserve every penny they earn. And congrats on making this your third record-breaking annual fiscal year to date.

Ooops... I just shot myself in the foot.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 3 months ago

"What do you think about Exxon Mobile's record $40 billion profit?"

I think they are simply taking advantage of the robber baron environment that Bushco has created for them. Actually, these profits are probably low given all of the breaks and special preferences and lack of regulation applied by Bushco. $80 billion would have started to raise eyebrows...

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 3 months ago

Oh, and the American public is too stupid to realize they are being fleeced and continue to demand Hummers and Explorers and Lincolns and more and more gas.

The public is too stupid to realize that higher gas prices equals more corporate profit, although Big Oil will tell you it has to do with "the price of oil beyond their control".

Sorry, but $40 billion in profit is a bit more than "just scrapin' by".

Wake up, idiot America. Or don't.

kansas778 7 years, 3 months ago

Dirty, please READ my posts and respond to what I SAY, not what you WANT me to say.

Thanks, K778

Ralph Reed 7 years, 3 months ago

DirtyLinen Are you talking about "gas stamps", similar to food stamps?

On the face of it, it's feasible. Let me think on it some more.

kansas778 7 years, 3 months ago

Dirty, please READ my posts and respond to what I SAY, not what you WANT me to say.

Thanks, K778

gphawk89 7 years, 3 months ago

DirtyLinen (Anonymous) says:

""gphawk89 (Anonymous) says:

"Yes, I just returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia and noticed that 95 octane gas cost about $0.50 per gallon. We are being gouged."

Maybe you noticed they grow the stuff there. Wonder how they feel about the price of American wheat.""

They probably don't care much about the price of American wheat. They grow their own and are self-sufficient, in fact they have exported a lot of wheat in the past. So food's cheap there, too, at least in the grocery stores.

kcwarpony 7 years, 3 months ago

"What do you think about Exxon Mobile's record $40 billion profit?"

Glad to hear it. Now they can stop the appeals and pay the $4.5 billion in punitive damages from the Exxon Valdez.

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