Press Release

May 10, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has co-sponsored legislation to repeal tax loopholes that help subsidize the five largest, most profitable oil companies in the world and use the savings to reduce the deficit.  Oil production is one of the most heavily subsidized industries in the United States, receiving more than $4 billion in tax breaks and subsidies every year.  At the same time, gas prices have risen to roughly $4 a gallon.   

“In a time of record high gas prices and budget deficits, taxpayers should not be helping to foot the bill for Big Oil as it makes astronomical profits,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  “We cannot afford to give $4 billion in tax breaks and subsidies to oil companies that have reaped nearly $1 trillion in profits over the last decade.  It’s time to end these taxpayer subsidies to oil companies and enact a comprehensive energy policy that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. ”

The Close Big Oil Tax Loophole Act would repeal tax loopholes to the five largest, most profitable oil companies in the world: BP, Exxon, Shell, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips (“Big 5”).  The savings realized by ending tax breaks and other subsidies currently to the Big 5 would be used for deficit reduction. 

Senator Cardin also has co-sponsored legislation that would repeal other taxpayer subsidies to major oil producers.  The Ethanol Subsidy and Tariff Repeal Act, S. 871, would repeal the $6 billion-a-year Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), which directs 45 cents to refiners for every gallon of ethanol they blend with gasoline.  The bill calls for repealing the VEETC subsidy by July 1, 2011 which would save approximately $3 billion this year.  It would also fully repeal the tariff on imported ethanol, which makes our nation more dependent on foreign oil by increasing the price of imported ethanol.