Sunday, May 4, 2008

... meanwhile, W's buds are raking it in!

Chevron's 1Q profit of $5.17B marks Big Oil's latest gusher
By MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writer
Sat May 3, 2008
SAN RAMON, Calif. - Astounding profits in the oil industry are becoming as routine as the anguished looks of motorists filling up their gas tanks.

Chevron Corp. put yet another exclamation point on the oil patch's long run of prosperity Friday with a first-quarter profit of $5.17 billion, or $2.48 per share. That was up 10 percent from net income of $4.72 billion, or $2.18 per share, last year.

The performance exceeded the lofty expectations of analysts, helping lift Chevron shares 38 cents to $95.32.

It was the second-highest quarterly profit in the company's 129-year history and marked the most money that it has ever made during the January-March period. That puts the No. 2 U.S. oil company on track for its fifth straight year of record earnings.

About the only downside to the quarter was that Chevron earned relatively little from gasoline sales because it couldn't raise its prices fast enough to recover its own rising costs for oil. Like its peers, Chevron doesn't produce enough oil on its own to feed its refineries, forcing it to buy some on the open market.
Soaring oil prices provided a similar first-quarter lift to four of Chevron's biggest rivals — Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips, BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

Collectively, Chevron and those four companies earned $36.9 billion in the first quarter, a 25 percent increase from last year.

[emphasis added]

Note: I've nothing against Big Oil, per se. I was raised on Big Oil. My dad worked his entire career as a geologist with one of the Standard Oil companies. Big Oil gave me a nice upper-middle-class life-style, sent me to a prestigious university, and was overall a very positive influence on my life.

I'm just wondering how our illustrious leaders in Congress can continue to justify tax breaks for Big Oil, while denying the same to emerging technologies.

The "free market" argument runs something like, "When wind/solar/hydrogren technologies can compete economically with oil, they'll be viable alternatives. In the meantime, to subsidize 'em with tax breaks is nothing more than rank socialism."

Have we gotten cheaper energy as a result?

No, we've just erected very high barriers for any alternative energy sources to overcome in order to be economically competitive. We've created a very artificial energy "market" that favors fossil fuels above any and all competitors, then turn around and claim that non-fossil fuel competitors need to compete on this unequal playing field without government assistance.


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