Reaction to Exxon-Mobile Profits

Reaction to Exxon-Mobile Profits

By: Carly O'Keefe
Carbondale, IL - A recent announcement that the Exxon-Mobil oil company earned a record $36.13 billion dollar profit in 2005 has some folks in the Heartland feeling squeezed.
Market experts call Exxon-Mobil’s net profit the highest ever reported by a U.S. company. That total breaks down to $1,146 a second. In the fourth quarter alone Exxon earned a company record $10.3 billion. High natural gas and oil prices drove that profit spike. A group called the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights accuses Exxon of using hurricane Katrina to manipulate those prices. It’s an accusation oil companies deny.

Some lawmakers are siding with the consumer groups. California Democrat Barbara Boxer says the Bush Administration must: “put an end to gouging." Illinois democrat Dick Durbin wants congress to talk about legislation that would channel record oil and gas company profits back to consumers. But Southern Illinois University Professor Dr . Ike Mathur says Exxon-Mobil has done nothing wrong.

“Demand for oil is strong, and Exxon has to compete with a global market,” Mathur said. "Oil companies have a profit margin, they are going to make 10 cents, 12 cents on every dollar, as their revenues increase their profits increase. As the prices go up, so do the profits, and they aren't going to lower their profit margins," Mathur said.

While it's just business, many folks feel too much of their hard-earned cash has been pumped into the oil companies' profits.

"I don't think it's right and I don't think it's fair for hardworking people to keep pouring their money into their gas tanks and pouring more money into these people's pockets," said Cindi Jeffrey of Royalton.

Some folks have found ways to cut back on how much of their family budget is spent on fuel.

"Even as tight as I am, I bought a new car that gets 40 miles to the gallon," said Ken Bozeman of Carbondale.

According to Mathur, conservation is the only way to bring gas prices back down, and shrink oil company profits.

“If enough people conserve energy, there will be less demand and prices will come down," Mathur said.