Video: Stop Kvetching About Exxon’s Profits

Our own Sam Kazman takes on the economic whiners who claim that ExxonMobil’s recently announced profit are “obscene.”

If you’d like to cite the script, here you go:

Two weeks ago Exxon reported a quarterly profit of nearly $12 billion. That’s a lot of money, and Exxon is taking a lot of heat for it. But on the other hand, Exxon pumps a lot of oil and makes a lot of gasoline. Suppose you break that profit down into how much Exxon makes from every gallon of gas. Depending on your accounting, Exxon’s profit ranges from about 5 cents to 30 cents per gallon.

That’s not very much. By comparison, government taxes on gasoline are a lot more—nearly 50 cents per gallon.

Still, Exxon does make a lot of money. But what’s wrong with that? If the oil business is profitable, that indicates we might have more oil, and maybe lower-priced oil, in the future. On the other hand, if Exxon were losing money, that would suggest that gas isn’t priced high enough and ought to cost even more.

I hope that’s not the case. I’d like to see gas prices drop.

And by the way, we’re not defending Exxon because it’s a CEI donor. It isn’t. Exxon doesn’t give us money, because it doesn’t agree with our skepticism about global warming. But hey, it’s a free country, isn’t it?