BALTIMORE –As area gas prices top $4 a gallon, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) held a press conference today with Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler to discuss efforts to protect Maryland consumers from high gas prices. The Senator has called for the passage of legislation that would end $4 billion a year in subsidies and tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies. The big five oil companies — Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and Conoco Phillips — made nearly $1 trillion in profits in the last decade, more than $35 billion of that in the first three months of this year.
“At a time of soaring gas prices and record budget deficits, we need to end $4 billion a year in subsidies for the Big 5 oil companies,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Finance and Budget committees. “Americans should not be footing the bill for Big Oil, which has made nearly $1 trillion in profits over the last decade. We need to end taxpayer subsidies to oil companies and enact a comprehensive energy policy that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
“The Office of Attorney General is tasked with protecting Maryland consumers and fair competition in the marketplace,” said Attorney General Gansler, who has launched a probe into the recent spike in gas prices across Maryland. “My office has not seen clear evidence to support the recent dramatic increase in gas prices from suppliers and is working to determine whether or not these increases are legitimate or just attempts to take advantage of Maryland consumers.”
The Close Big Oil Tax Loophole Act would repeal tax loopholes to the five largest, most profitable oil companies in the world: BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, and Conoco Phillips (“Big 5”). The savings realized by ending tax breaks and other subsidies currently to the Big 5 would be used for deficit reduction.
In the first quarter of 2011, the Big 5 oil companies reported record profits:
- Exxon Mobil – $10.7 billion in profits;
- Shell –$8.8 billion in profits;
- BP — $7.1 billion in profits;
- Chevron –$6.2 billion in profits; and,
- Conoco Phillips — $3 billion in profits.
Last week Senator Cardin also signed a letter to the heads of the Big 5 oil companies “urging them to reject any more taxpayer subsidies” in light of the Big 5’s $1 trillion in profits over the last decade.