During the summer of 2008 when the cost of oil skyrocketed and the national average price of gasoline reached over four dollars per gallon, that did not prevent the oil giants from raking in record profits. In fact, 2008 was the most profitable year on record for Big Oil, with Exxon-Mobil raking in over $45 billion dollars in profit.
The Republican response to the record profits of Big Oil in 2008 was a shrug of the shoulder, and the response to the record high cost of gasoline was “drill baby drill.” Increased domestic-energy production would have almost no effect on the price of gasoline, but it was a catchy phrase that quickly caught-on with both the Beltway villagers and Joe Public.
The price of oil, and consequently gasoline, dropped dramatically in 2009 after the speculative fleecing of America’s wallets was complete. The dramatic drop in price had the side effect of causing people to forget that the greasy boot of Big Oil was recently pressed against their necks, and the urgency of finding alternatives to oil was depressed.
Does anyone think it was a coincidence that this coincided with the inauguration of a Democratic president with a clear mandate to begin transitioning away from oil?
I don’t. And I also don’t believe it’s a coincidence that we now find ourselves in an eerily similar situation in the year 2011. The price of gasoline is already over four dollars, or within a hair of four dollars, across most of the nation and the busy summer travel season is still months away. 2011 is now on-pace to either rival or surpass the record profits of Big Oil seen in 2008.
Booming crude-oil prices and improved refining profits are poised to put a firecracker under Big Oil’s first-quarter earnings and set the stage for a year that could come close to rivaling the industry’s record year in 2008.First-quarter crude prices averaged about $100 a barrel, or about 20% higher than a year ago, pushed upward by oil-supply concerns due to political unrest in the Arab World and a recovering global economy. That spike is expected to lift earnings by about 50% at Exxon Mobil Corp., and about 33% each at Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, compared with a year earlier.
What’s the Republican response this time? Vote against ending the subsidy of Big Oil, of course.The same corporations that robbed the nation at the gas-pump in 2008, who are currently following the same speculative game-plan in 2011, are being subsidized to the tune of billions of dollars per year, and the Republican Party is intent on preserving those subsidies.Say, aren’t subsidies an affront to the mythological “invisible hand” of the free market? The same invisible hand that conservative “thinkers” worship alongside Ronald Reagan and Supply-Side Jesus?Big Oil has raked in nearly $1 trillion dollars in profits since 2001, so I’m not sure if the argument that oil subsidies are warranted in any way holds a great deal of water.
The oil and gas industry argues its tax breaks are essential to its ability to create jobs, but the evidence indicates that clean energy investments are a more cost-effective job creator. A University of Massachusetts study found that investment in clean energy creates anywhere from two to four times more direct and indirect jobs compared to the same investment in oil and gas production. Investing $1 million to retrofit buildings to make them more energy efficient creates three times more jobs than a $1 million investment in oil and gas. An investment in wind energy creates two and a half times more jobs compared to the same investment in oil and gas.
Of course jobs were never the focus of Republicans or ever even intended to be their focus. They depend on a depressed economy to have any hope of competing for virtually any elected office in 2012.The previously Democratically-controlled House of Representatives passed comprehensive energy legislation that would have invested in clean energy and thus created jobs, but it was killed-off in the Senate by Republican fillibuster.via ThinkProgress