As Gas Prices Rise, Pingree Cosponsors Bill to Fight Big Oil’s Greed, Provide Rebates to American Consumers
The Stop Gas Price Gouging Tax and Rebate Act would create a windfall profit tax on excessive corporate profits and return the revenue to American consumers in the form of a tax rebate
WASHINGTON, DC— With gas prices skyrocketing in recent weeks, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) announced she has cosponsored legislation to curb profiteering by big oil companies and provide American consumers relief at the pump. The Stop Gas Price Gouging Tax and Rebate Act, introduced in the U.S. House by Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), would create a windfall profit tax on excessive corporate profits and return the revenue to American consumers in the form of a tax rebate.
“Right now, gas is more than $4 a gallon in Maine and across the county. People are angry and frustrated—and they should be,” said Pingree. “While Russia’s war has undoubtedly played a part in skyrocketing prices, gas prices were on the rise long before Putin’s aggression in Europe because of Big Oil’s greed. As Americans struggled to pay for groceries and rent last year during the pandemic, the largest oil companies in the U.S. made record profits. Once again, Big Oil is profiting off a global crisis, using it as an excuse for raising prices. Enough is enough. More drilling isn’t the solution—curbing corporate greed is.”
The price of a gallon of gasoline is up well over a dollar from a year ago, and the price of a barrel of oil has also significantly increased compared to what it was before the pandemic. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has further disrupted an already volatile global oil market by reducing supply and leading governments to limit imports of Russian energy to cut Russia off from its main source of cashflow that is fueling Putin’s war and help protect the Ukrainian people.
At the same time, big oil companies are reaping near-record profits. In 2021, the largest oil and gas companies made a combined $205 billion in record profits, according to a report released last week by Accountable.US. Exxon Mobil, the largest oil and gas company in the U.S., reported over $23 billion in profit in 2021 alone, which was a 60 percent increase compared to its 2019 profit of $14 billion. Over that same time period, the price of a gallon of gasoline rose from an average of $2.69 to $3.41. It currently stands at over $4.
Big Oil has used its excess billions in profit to shower CEOs and shareholders with cash, instead of providing lower gas prices to Americans. As a result, Americans are continuing to face record-level prices at the gas pump.
In its report, Accountable.US asserts that Big Oil is “taking advantage of bloated prices, fleecing Americans along the way.” According to data from Bernstein Research, the seven major oil companies in the U.S. are on track to return at least $38 billion to shareholders via stock buyback programs this year. Big Oil is poised to continue exploiting this moment to maximize their profits in 2022.
The Stop Gas Price Gouging Tax and Rebate Act would:
In addition to Pingree, the bill is cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Nanette Barragán, Andre Carson, Steve Cohen, Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, Raúl Grijalva, Pramila Jayapal, Mondaire Jones, Marcy Kaptur, Tom Malinowski, Katie Porter, Deborah Ross, Mark Takano, Dina Titus, Rashida Tlaib, Lauren Underwood, and Peter Welch.