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Pallone Demands Answers from Oil Companies on Record Breaking Profits Amid High Gas Prices

Aug 3, 2022
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) wrote to four major oil companies today demanding answers for how they are using their record high profits, and what – if anything – each company is doing to alleviate Americans’ pain at the pump.

While gas prices have begun to fall, the letters come as drivers continue to bear the burden of higher-than-average fuel costs at the same time as the four major oil companies announced quarterly earnings of nearly $50 billion combined. Exxon alone reported a profit of $17.9 billion – the highest quarterly profit reported by any oil company in history – while Chevron reported $11.6 billion, Shell reported $11.47 billion, and BP reported $8.45 billion. These are record-shattering figures for the companies and the result of them reaping enormous profits on the backs of hardworking families.

“The Committee is investigating what oil companies could and should be doing to help bring down gas prices,” Pallone wrote to each of the four companies. “As one of the largest private oil companies in the world, your company is positioned to help alleviate Americans’ pain at the pump, but I am concerned that you are more focused on rewarding company executives and shareholders.”  

The letters are a continuation of the Committee’s investigation into oil companies’ business practices and follow letters sent in March, as well as a subsequent hearing with six Big Oil CEOs in April. Pallone addresses each company’s record high profits, writing, for example, that Exxon alone posted quarterly profits nearly six times the pre-pandemic second quarter profits reported in 2019 – putting Exxon on track to nearly double what it earned in 2021. Yet instead of using these windfalls to lower prices, oil companies are instead buying back their own stock and increasing shareholder dividends.

“These misguided priorities are why I joined my colleagues to spearhead passage of the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act in May, which would be the first-ever federal statute against fuel price gouging,” Pallone continued. “This bill would also increase penalties levied against market manipulators and price gougers that drive up fuel prices and would give the federal government better tools to bring enforcement actions against price gougers during energy emergencies declared by the President.”

Pallone requests answers about how the companies’ profits will be used to increase executives’ compensation, stock buybacks, expenditures in support of fossil fuel production, and expenditures in support of renewable fuels and decarbonization.

Full text of the letters can be found here: 

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Subcommittees: