According to the Business 2.0 blog, oil companies are reporting record profits this quarter:
Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest oil company, said yesterday that its third-quarter net income jumped 75 percent, to $9.92 billion. Its profit in the first nine months of this year – $25.42 billion – already equals its full-year earnings for 2004. This year’s sales, which topped $100 billion in the last quarter, are expected to exceed those of Wal-Mart.
It’s hard to fault them though when they are merely the beneficiaries of rampant oil speculation. After all, the real costs associated with extracting and refining oil haven’t changed. It is the commodity speculation that has pushed the price per barrel, the price per gallon at the pump, and ultimately the profit, up. Oil companies are only doing what they must do by law – increase shareholder value.
That said, I still don’t understand why the change in gasoline pump prices is nearly double that in the US.