Skip Nav
Mermaids
The Photos From This Mermaidy Sandbar Wedding Will Make Your Jaw Drop
Humor
Are You and Your Boyfriend Best Friends? Here's How You Really Know
Relationships
7 Signs of a Woman Who Will Never Stop Loving You

Record Oil Profits and Gas Prices

The Story Fueling Our Gas Woes. Is Gas Your #1 Concern?

If a trip to the gas station has left your wallet lighter than air, it's comforting to know someone's getting fat off of fuel costs: Big Oil. BP and Royal Dutch Shell just reported massive increases in profits for the first three months of 2008. BP's gross (that's an understatement) profits rose 48 percent in the first quarter to $6.6 billion while Shell increased its profits 12 percent to a record $7.8 billion.

Surely their good fortune driven by the rising oil prices has made them generous? Nope. The companies have passed growing costs right on to consumers to shell out big bucks at the pump. We've reached the top (or bottom) though, right? Well, the head of OPEC has just warned that the price of oil could hit $200 a barrel. And pity your friends in the UK — speculation is likely to push petrol to £5 (that's about $10) a gallon today. I say, "ouch!" ol' chap.


Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

One positive gas-goody (?): It's bringing Clinton and McCain together. Clinton has just joined McCain calling for gas tax relief saying,

“This is one of the big differences in this race. My opponent Senator Obama opposes giving consumers a break on the gas tax at the federal level. I support it. I understand the American people need some relief.”

A recent survey shows gas is the #1 concern, over jobs and health care with 44 percent of participants saying paying for gasoline was a "serious problem" for them. Is it for you? Is fueling your life a serious problem? Are you surprised by the record profits? Should Big Oil be involved in a solution?

Join The Conversation
Roarman Roarman 9 years
I walk to work, have one car and am still feeling the pressure from high gas prices. I live in CT, which has a hefty gas tax. I think a way for all of us to do our part is by conservation. Drive less, bundle trips together, car pool, buy local, plant a vegetable garden, walk or ride a bike when it's an option and just try to cut back. We depend too much on oil in this country. Some supermarkets here in CT are trying to use less energy by turning lights off in certain areas of the store at certain times of the day.
s2lrbarn s2lrbarn 9 years
Higher gas prices remind Americans that we depend too much on oil in general. It's crazy to say that gas prices are my #1 concern. I couldn't look a soldier in the eye and say that. We send young men and women to war in regions that are unstable because we are too dependent on oil in volatile regions of the world. There isn't one solution to reducing our dependence on oil. There are so many great ideas on this message board, and almost all of them are 100% viable. We need to use less (even water bottles are produced from petroleum), and put brilliant minds behind creating an alternative energy economy. This isn't about quick fixes. It's about making small differences every day and thinking solutions that will change the way we use energy for good. Drilling for oil in the US is a band aid to the current problem. The solution is to use less. And I think America will be much stronger if we do.
acyl acyl 9 years
I also don't think a gas tax holiday will help in the long run. Another quick fix for votes.
acyl acyl 9 years
Personally our stupid "health care system" if you can call it that, is MY main concern this year. I don't think drilling more in the US will help much. Our oil reserves couldn't possiblly support how much we actually use. We will destroy places just for a few drops and we'll be back at square one again. I agree, we have to change the entire way we live if we're going to fix this energy problem.
ladychaos ladychaos 9 years
Since the Bush family own so many of the Texas reserves, I'm wondering why Congress isn't putting stress on them, especially since 2 of them are holding public offices.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
NYT: "The highway trust fund that the gas tax finances provides money to states and local governments to pay for road and bridge construction, repair and maintenance. Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton propose to suspend the tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the peak driving season, which would lower tax receipts by roughly $9 billion and potentially cost 300,000 highway construction jobs, according to state highway officials.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
American Society of Civil Engineers The nation's roads and bridges are already overburdened and any "gas tax holiday" -- including the one proposed by Sen. Hillary Clinton -- would only delay much needed transportation projects the American Society of Civil Engineers said today. A moratorium on the gas tax poses a significant threat to the U.S. economy, and could potentially increase the cost per driver caused by traffic congestion and poor road conditions. It will provide no tangible benefit to the American people, and any plan for restoring the $8.5 billion in lost transportation funding is unlikely. James Hamilton (Economist, UC San Diego) "I don't think that a gas-tax cut would result in a really big drop in gasoline prices," said James Hamilton, a professor of economics at the University of California San Diego. It's simple economics: Without a corresponding increase in supply, he added, the price would rise again. Len Burman (Tax Policy Center) Refiners run near capacity every summer as families rack up miles on family vacations. That's one reason why gas prices jump in the summer. If McCain's excise tax cut translated into lower prices, we'd all want to drive more, which would push up the demand for gasoline. Since the refiners can't produce much more without building new refineries, the price has to go back up. Jonah Gelbach: One point that has gone largely unreported in the regular media is that a brief gas tax holiday would likely do little to reduce prices for consumers simply because in the short run the supply of gasoline is relatively fixed (in econese, the short run supply curve is close to vertical). As a result, a cut in the gas tax of brief duration will simply cause the pre-tax price of gas to rise. This would mean that the price paid by consumers would change relatively little, if at all (tho James Hamilton's post, linked below, suggests the consumer price might fall by as much as half the gas tax, which I think would be about 9 cents). Instead, the price received by oil companies would simply rise, providing them with windfall profits."
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Jill is it really THAT immediate though? I would think the projects they are already in the middle of have funds appropriated... I could see maybe something that immediate in northern states which have the small time frame of the summer to get word done, but in NC you can do road work all year long.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Federal gas tax money goes towards infrastructure. It seems logical that if you take away that income, you take away whate we spent it on: road safety and the jobs that creates.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
If I were you, Jillness, I'd go verify that bit of information. The construction jobs with the State of NC are based on LAST YEAR's budget.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
PopGoesTheWorld has explained it well. The Media are using words to get YOU upset. We have done this to ourselves, you know? WE have not insisted that better gas mileage for vehicles is important to us by the vehicles we have purchased -- SUVs, Duallies, RVs -- look at who is driving them -- the "average" housewife drives an SUV (10-14 mpg) that will never see a rutted-dirt-road or she may have a Hummer that gets 6 miles per gallon JUST FOR SHOW. "Because I can." Well, duh. Why weren't you thinking about the environment BEFORE gas prices rose? I own a 1995 Ford Escort, stick shift, that I bought new in July 1995. It still gets 39.99 mpg on good (non ethanol) gas and 35 with ethanol. It doesn't look flashy. It's showing age. And I am in the minority. No one has sent me a questionnaire about my buying habits. I bought a car I could afford and that got the best gas mileage. And I kept it serviced. So I'm still getting good mileage, even with the price of gas going to $4 a gallon. But market analysis indicates that the public wants large cars and are not concerned with gas mileage. However, market analysis is skewed. People by what they 'like' instead of what is practical. I purchase what is practical. So OIL is not the problem. WE are the problem. WE insist on owning big bright shiny road hogging, gas guzzling vehicles. We compensate with a vehicle what we don't have in another area -- personality maybe. I have no sympathy for people complaining about the price of gasoline. You pay to live large. You save if you live small.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Interesting facts I have found: "The plan first proposed by likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain calls for suspending the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day." Obama argued that suspending the gas tax collections would undercut highway construction, costing North Carolina up to 7,000 jobs, while saving consumers little." I never thought about how this would impact the constuction sector, which has already took large hits because of the housing market.
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
We have a work from home policy but my Director won't let our group use it. I could save SO MUCH, because I commute 50 miles each way. :(
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Pop I totally agree, when I lived in northern VA a lot of DC companies would let thier people telecommute because the traffic is so god awful there. And did you know that when people work from home they are actually MORE productive? Its true!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
"Money is always a motivating factor." I think you're 100% correct. I'm sorry to see gas prices soaring but unless something affects our pocket books, we're unlikely to take action. Some people will, who are especially socially conscious or whatnot. But the rest of us, the majority, will adjust their habits only when forced to. I like the idea of incentivizing as well. I know some companies and gov't agencies do the flex week of 4, 10 hr days to save their employees commute time 1 day per week. Also, with all the technology we have available., companies should really start letting people work from home at least part time.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Yea all good points... just trying to brainstorm! cuz you know, i'm sure i'll be the one to solve all this! haha! I'd like to see the gov't give tax breaks to people who take public transport and tax breaks to companies who either encourage their employees to work from home if thats possible or reimburse their employees for using public transport. Money is always a motivating factor.
stephley stephley 9 years
Cabaker, I like the idea of a day to save but it does quickly seem impossible. Any business told to shut down would complain it was being singled out for punishment, businesses would complain that the govt was hurting their profits if it encouraged people not to go out and spend. I know my city would probably be furious if it lost a day of parking meter money. We'd all run up our electric bills, watching t.v. and running the air conditioners... I've wondered about encouraging businesses to cut hours, use less electricity - but lost profits come in to play in any idea.
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
Anytime cine, anytime.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Thanks for the info 3M.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
If it's just the fed tax that is $.18, then that's a crock of bull. That will do about as much good as the tax rebate checks we're getting
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
I like the government to stimulate me in other ways.
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
Jillness, my understanding is that the tax on the Federal level is around 18 cents, so it wouldn't make that much of a budge. It's the states that tend to carry a heavier tax on gas. I'm currently in Jersey where we have some of the lowest gas prices in the country. Why? Our state doesn't tax gas that heavily. It's amazing, if I drive 20 minutes across the New York state border, prices jump easily by 20 to 40 cents a gallon at times. If the states were to suspend their gas taxes, that is where you'd see the biggest savings. Additionally, Hillary said she would like to recoup the missing gas taxes (from the summer suspension) by adding a windfall profits tax on the gas companies. Which, of course, would just wind up getting passed down to the consumer and there goes the summer tax break. :)
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Cabaker, I just did not want you to think I forgot about my rural peeps! :)
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
If it is a federal tax then I would be all for it going away, every little bit helps. Cabaker, I don't know if that would work. You would need the gas stations to close down that day so you did not get people who wanted an easy day of driving without traffic, and that in return would hurt their business.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Heres an idea and this is just a shot in the dark, but remember in the 90s how the gov't shut down for a few days? What if the government told everyone, some Saturday in the summer, to stay home? Don't drive. Don't go anywhere, all day, for one day. Just to send a message? Obv. first responders and all that would get a pass and have to go to work.
Who Will Nick Viall Pick on The Bachelor? Poll
Transgender Military Members Suing Donald Trump
Donald Trump Says He Won't Hire "Poor People"
Secrets From Congress
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds