$5.00 per gallon at pump, $5 million per hour at Exxon Mobil

Millions of Americans are learning the new math: corporate economics. Oil monopolies continue to put a tight stranglehold on the country’s economy as gas prices gallop toward $5.00 a gallon.

Big Oil’s racketeering prices are wrecking every family’s food, heat and transportation budget. While gas prices rise daily, the people’s suffering grows daily also.

But not so for Big Oil. The oil monopolies raked in obscene profits in the first quarter of this year. Exxon Mobil siphoned up $10.7 billion. That’s $4,953,707.70 each and every hour and $82,561.73 every minute of every day.

What’s your hourly wage?

The oil monopolies put profits before country and people. They know that their reckless price gouging policies are causing inflation in the production and distribution of food, in public transportation and the ability of millions of people to use cars for work and for other necessary transport.

Their policies threaten millions of jobs in the production, sales, servicing and maintenance of the nation’s automotive and trucking industries. They threaten and undermine the economic recovery now in process. Yet, they don’t care.

There is only one reason for the crisis: corporate greed. Gasoline prices are skyrocketing due to the profiteering by oil speculators and hedge funds, many of which are greased with Big Oil’s money to begin with.

The solutions are simple and clear. They require government action to protect the people. It requires stepping down hard on the oil monopoly toes, short and long term. It means putting people before profits.

What can be done?

Price control laws should be enacted on the whole petroleum industry. This was successfully done by the United States Office of Price Administration during World War II.

An excess profits tax should be passed by Congress to stop price gouging and profiteering. And closing tax loopholes is a must.

President Obama called for ending all subsidies to the oil companies. Speaker of the House John Boehner refuses to allow this to come to the floor for a vote. Boehner gets hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from the oil companies. While the vast majority of the oil money goes to Republicans there are Democrats who also take oil money.

The government should stop all oil imports for 90 days and use the oil from the U.S. strategic reserves as needed to fill the gap. During this period, the government should establish strict regulations as to the source and price of oil before it is allowed into the country. All profiteering from speculation should be kept out.

Longer term, the federal government should establish its own refineries and distribution systems in competition with the oil monopolies. Undoubtedly government gasoline prices would be much lower, and this would force the profit-greedy monopolies to lower their prices.

The U.S. government is the largest customer of the petroleum industry in this country. While bringing down gasoline prices for the consumers, the government would also save countless hundreds of millions of dollars by refining and consuming its own oil. It would not have to be at the mercy of the oil monopolies.

In the final analysis, the only permanent solution is for public ownership of the oil and energy industry.

Everyone who reads this article has organizing skills and experience. Now is the time to put all that experience to use. Mass pressure on government at every level is needed to curb the oil monopolies and roll back prices.

Calls to Congress, leaflet distributions at supermarkets and gas stations, demonstrations, letters to newspapers, use of social media, all are needed now.

We can roll back prices. Every effort must be made for mass education and action on this crisis. The 2012 elections are not far away.

Photo: (CC)


Lee Dlugin
Lee Dlugin

Lee Dlugin is a longtime organizer and political activist. She writes from New Jersey.