Group Slams “New Normal” Set By Years of Record Profits, Predicts $4-Plus Gasoline in Spring
Santa Monica, CA — While stock speculators reacted with woe to ExxonMobil’s report that its $9.41 billion 3rd-quarter profit was 10% below last year’s near-record 3rd quarter, consumers see numbers that continue to pick their pockets, said the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR).
FTCR and its OilWatchdog.org project noted that the quarterly profit was 82% of the company’s full-year profit, $11.5 billion, in 2002. That was the year before Exxon and other oil companies began a string of year-over-year profit records. Exxon‘s 2003 profit nearly doubled, to $21.5 billion, and its 2006 profit was $39.5 billion.
“Exxon has led the pack in setting a ‘new normal’ for its profits, which ultimately come out of the budgets of car-pooling moms and pensioners struggling to buy home heating oil,” said Judy Dugan, research director of FTCR. “This quarter’s small dip is still more than triple the $2.9 billion quarterly profit of 2002.”
(New Resource: Click here to see beta version of FTCR’s database of Exxon profits since 2000, including full data sources, compiled by independent oil analyst Tim Hamilton.)
Exxon, BP and Conoco have all blamed lower refinery profits for much of the profit dip this quarter, but Exxon made up some of the difference with higher profits on selling oil, at an average of near $75 a barrel. With crude oil prices now more than $20 a barrel higher, Exxon is likely to return to record profitability in the 4th quarter.
“Consumers and the economy are headed for the worst of all worlds, with crude oil jacked up to new highs on speculation in unregulated futures markets, while oil companies curb gasoline supplies to allow their refining profits to spike again.”
FTCR called for investigations of this year’s extended refinery outages and record gasoline prices in the spring, when gasoline prices rose to new record levels even as crude oil cost about $65 a barrel.
“Conditions are now set for a reprise of gasoline price spikes in early spring, with prices well in excess of $4 a gallon at the pump if crude oil prices stay above even $80 a gallon,” said Dugan. “Gasoline prices are already 70 cents a gallon above what they were last year at this time.”
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