Big Oil Is Profiting Even During Sequestration

Big Oil is enjoying huge profits and tax breaks despite severe sequestration cuts to many middle-class programs.

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Middle-class families have gotten some relief at the pump this spring due to declining gasoline prices. AAA reported that U.S. drivers paid an average of $3.55 per gallon of gasoline in April, the least expensive average for this month since 2010. Gasoline prices are now almost 35 cents lower than they were one year ago, when gasoline cost an average of $3.89 per gallon.

Despite lower prices at the pump, the biggest publicly traded oil companies in the world have raked in billions of dollars in profit over the past three months. According to their earnings reports released last week, the big five oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—earned a combined $30.2 billion during the first quarter of 2013, or $331 million per day. Cumulatively, Big Oil profits were 6 percent lower than the first quarter of 2012 due to lower gasoline and oil prices, but these companies still earned a combined $229,832  every minute from January through March. This is more than what 95 percent of American households earn in an entire year.

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