More Oil Companies Made Massive Profits as Californians Paid Higher Gas Prices

California refiners Phillips 66 and Marathon reported profit increases up to 1243% higher than last year, while BP spent $2.5 billion on share buybacks

Governor Newsom has proposed a price gouging penalty that will put windfall oil company profits back in the pockets of Californians

SACRAMENTO – As gas price hikes hit Californians at the pump, oil companies and their refinery operations made record profits in only three months from July to September:

Phillips 66 and Marathon operate refineries in the state that have raised costs on Californians despite the cost of crude declining, blaming such increases on refinery maintenance and other issues.

This follows Valero’s $2.82 billion in profits that were 500% higher than the year before, PBF Energy’s $1.06 billion that was 1700% higher than the year before, Shell’s $9.45 billion haul that sent $4 billion to shareholders for stock buybacks, Exxon’s highest-ever $19.7 billion in profits, and Chevron’s $11.2 billion in profits.

“Big oil is making record profits by ripping off Californians. They said high prices were because of war, state taxes and maintenance, but now we know that was all a facade – these high prices went straight to their bottom line,” said Governor Newsom. “A price gouging penalty will put these windfall profits back in the pockets of Californians.”

Following these record-breaking Q3 profits, big oil executives seem to be acknowledging the need to put money into the pockets of consumers. While Shell directly acknowledged it, Exxon did so in their own special, out-of-touch way:

  • Shell CEO: “I think we should be prepared and accept that our industry will be looked at for raising taxes in order to fund the transfers to those who need it most.”
  • Exxon CEO: “There has been discussion in the US about our industry returning some of our profits directly to the American people. That’s exactly what we’re doing in the form of our quarterly dividend.”

This comes on the heels of a report showing that refiners like PBF Energy are making more profits off of Californians than in any other state – $0.78 per gallon compared to the national average of $0.50, a 56% differential. According to Consumer Watchdog, “PBF reported making 78 cents per gallon refining crude oil into gasoline in California in the third quarter – the greatest raw profits anywhere in the nation or world. By contrast, PBF’s profits per gallon were 48 cents on the Gulf Coast, 49 cents per gallon on the East Coast, 55 cents per gallon in the Midwest – an average of 50 cents across the rest of America.”

Big oil was making these record profits at a time when Californians were seeing gas price hikes at the pump, despite the fact that the cost of crude oil was down:

Governor Newsom has taken action to lower prices at the pump, ordering the switch to winter-blend gasoline and demanding accountability from oil companies and refiners that do business in California, leading to record relief at the pump for consumers. Since California’s record-high gas prices of $6.42, the Governor’s actions have reduced those prices to $5.54 most recently – a decrease of 88 cents.