The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Oil Price Gouging

Nov 22, 2021

A main driver of the wave of inflation besetting the country is the price of all forms of energy.

Gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, natural gas, electricity and coal, all cost much more than they did a year ago. Or, even a month ago. The national average for gasoline is $3.42 a gallon, up by more than a dollar from last November and the priciest it has been in seven years. Home heating oil bills are expected to be up 39% over last year. Natural gas bills are expected to be 26% higher than a year ago, and electricity 6%.

No, this is not because the big energy companies can’t keep up with increased demand caused by the economic rebound following the pandemic. It’s because energy companies are simply using the slow economic expansion as the excuse to greatly increase prices—that is, they are carrying out price gouging.

Even the news media admits that the few big energy companies that thoroughly dominate the entire energy sector have simply decided to hold production down to boost prices … and their profits. And it has worked. At Exxon, the biggest oil company in the world, profits were close to seven billion dollars—after taxes—for the last three months, as opposed to a loss last year. At Chevron, the second biggest oil company, profits were six billion dollars, or 17 times higher than profits in the same period last year.

And rather than reinvesting all that money—even in the production of alternative forms of energy—as these companies claim they are doing, they are simply using super profits to enrich their big stockholders. That’s why shares of Exxon are up 56% so far this year, while Chevron shares are up 33%.

And the capitalists are laughing all the way to the bank!