Exxon’s Close to $11 Billion Q1 Profit Fuels Outrage

Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Business News, Public Relations [ 0 Comments ]

Imagine as a business, if you made $11 billion for a quarter and then had to go on a big time public relations campaign to explain why you’re really not doing that well after all. Could you do it with a straight face?

Well, something stinks in the minds of many Americans, and it isn’t the smell of gas coming from their local Exxon/Mobil gas station.

Exxon reported that it made a ripe $10.65 billion profit for Q1 of 2011 (a 69 percent increase from Q1 2010), making it the largest profit the company has made since a whopping $14.83 billion hit in Q3 of 2008. And what was the common factor between this quarter’s profit and the one back in 2008? You guessed it; gasoline prices for many Americans ran over $4 a gallon then and now.

According to Exxon, it really has no control over the eye-opening oil prices. To go a step further, Exxon claims it really does not make that much income selling gas.

So, do you believe what you’re hearing from Exxon?

The company goes on to note that it has paid close to $60 billion in taxes in the U.S. in the last five years, along with pointing out that some 9.2 million jobs are dependent on big oil.

So, still not buying what Exxon is selling?

In a very long correspondence on Exxon’s blog with consumers, Ken Cohen, vice president of public and government affairs, went to town on how the company makes less than 10 cents a gallon on gasoline sales to consumers, while those same consumers pay some 40 to 60 cents per gallon towards state and federal gasoline taxes.

Still not ready to feel sorry for Exxon?

As we conclude April, the fact is gasoline to run America’s vehicles costs more than $4 a gallon in eight states and D.C. Having risen for 37 consecutive days, Consumer Affairs notes that the national average for a gallon of self-serve gas is $3.909.

It really isn’t rocket science to figure out that higher gas prices stymie the nation’s overall economic growth. Higher gas prices lead to less income in the pockets of consumers, translating to less money to spend and invest in the American economy, especially at a time when the economy is still struggling to move forward.

Granted, while Exxon cannot control the price of oil or gasoline worldwide, it is unlikely to win much sympathy as American consumers continue to see higher prices at the pump.

Should taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies be shelved or is that unlikely to really help the situation for consumers? Should those financial subsidies be used to improve and increase other fuel alternatives and better the public transportation system?

It is rather clear that no one in and outside of Washington, D.C. has offered a real solution to this issue for decades.

That being said, continued rising prices at the pump will continue to fuel anger towards companies such as Exxon rightly or wrongly.

Now imagine if you were a business who just made a nearly staggering $11 billion first quarter profit and had to explain to your customers how things could actually be better for your company.

Do you think consumers would truly buy it? I didn’t think so.

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