As Big Oil Profits Soar, Sanders Calls for Windfall Profits Tax, OPEC Sanctions, Merger Moratorium

WASHINGTON, February 1- Boosted by gushing oil prices, Exxon Mobil's $40.6 billion in 2007 profits exceeded the company's own record for a U.S. corporation. Chevron also reported huge profits. At a meeting in Vienna of the international oil cartel, meanwhile, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies kept production quotas steady.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said: "It is absurd for oil companies like Exxon Mobil to be raking in obscene profits while millions of Americans are struggling to pay skyrocketing gas and home heating oil prices. We owe it to the American people to do everything we can to stop big oil companies from ripping off American consumers.

"Since 2001, Big Oil has earned more than half-a-trillion dollars in profits, but devoted less than a penny per gallon to produce clean and affordable renewable fuels in this country to reduce Americans' dependency on oil. Instead, the president and his allies in Congress blocked efforts to repeal oil company tax breaks and devote those resources to incentives for the production of energy efficient vehicles and renewable energy," Sanders added.

Congress should renew those efforts this year, he added, and also take these steps to rein in prices for petroleum products:

  • Impose a windfall profits tax on the oil companies. Revenue from a windfall profits tax could make a substantial down payment on meeting the urgent need to repair crumbling roads, bridges, and highways.
  • Urge the president to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization against OPEC for illegally colluding to raise oil prices. "It's time the wealthy OPEC cartel obeyed international law and stop manipulating the price of oil," Sanders said.
  • Place a moratorium on big oil company mergers and give serious consideration to breaking up some of the biggest oil companies in this country, including Exxon Mobil, Conoco-Phillips and Chevron-Texaco.