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Big Oil Profits from Americans

Big Oil has American families to thank for their enormous second-quarter profits: Oil profits grow when Americans pay more for gasoline.

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This week the five Big Oil companies—ExxonMobil, BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and Shell—posted massive second-quarter profits thanks in no small part to record-high gas prices and billions in unnecessary subsidies paid by American taxpayers.

All five companies sat squarely in the black with $35.1 billion in combined second-quarter profits, 9 percent higher than in 2010. Exxon, at a whopping $10.7 billion, reported the largest profits by far. Shell saw an $8 billion profit for the quarter, a 77 percent increase from last year, putting the company on track to meet or exceed its 2008 record of $31.4 billion—the most a British company has ever earned in a single year. Even BP clocked in at $5.3 billion little more than a year after the fatal Deepwater Horizon disaster rocked the U.S. Gulf Coast, forcing BP to put $20 billion in an escrow fund for people harmed by the blow out.

Big Oil once again has American families to thank for these enormous gains: Oil profits grow when Americans pay more for gasoline. Because oil averaged $107.35 a barrel during the second quarter—a 39 percent increase over 2010—Americans are forking over more than a third more at the pump than they were just a year ago.

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