Retooled legislation would hold Big Oil accountable for excess profits gouged from consumers in 2022
Senator Reverend Warnock: “This bill will combat corporate greed from large oil companies reporting record earnings and provide economic relief to working families in Georgia and across the nation. I’m going to keep working to lower fuel costs for Georgians, including by pushing to pass this critical legislation”
Washington D.C. — As the five largest publicly traded oil companies boasted to Wall Street about their record $264.3 billion haul in 2022, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) today joined his Democratic colleagues in reintroducing the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act to crack down on profiteering by Big Oil and return the industry’s excessive gains to working people.
“I’m proud to support the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act because wealthy oil corporations need to be held accountable for profiteering off of hardworking Georgians,” said Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock. “This bill will combat corporate greed from large oil companies reporting record earnings and provide economic relief to working families in Georgia and across the nation. I’m going to keep working to lower fuel costs for Georgians, including by pushing to pass this critical legislation.”
The five largest publicly traded oil companies – Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, and TotalEnergies – hauled in pre-tax profits totaling $264.3 billion in fiscal year 2022. Exxon alone reported $77.8 billion in profits in 2022, smashing the earnings record of any American or European oil company. Exxon also announced plans to keep oil production flat for the year ahead. Rival oil giant Chevron – flush with $49.7 billion in profits – greenlit $75 billion in stock buybacks in 2023 to benefit its wealthy executives and shareholders on Wall Street.
Last year, gas prices briefly surpassed $5 nationally a gallon, squeezing the budgets of families in Georgia and across the country. While the price of gas has fallen significantly since then, it remains above pre-pandemic levels.
The Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act would:
- Claw back Big Oil’s windfall profits. Large oil companies will owe a per-barrel quarterly tax equal to 50 percent of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and the pre-pandemic average price per barrel between 2015 and 2019. It will apply to both domestically produced and imported barrels of oil to ensure a level playing field. The clawback will apply to oil profits in 2022 and going forward so that Americans gouged by high prices are made whole.
- Apply only to the largest companies. Large companies that produce or import at least 300,000 barrels of oil per day will be subject to the legislation. Smaller companies accounting for roughly 70 percent of domestic production will be exempt, so oil giants like Exxon and Chevron cannot simply gouge consumers further without the threat of losing market share.
- Lower consumer costs with relief rebates. Revenue raised from the windfall profits of big oil companies will be returned to consumers in the form of a quarterly rebate, which would phase out for single filers who earn more than $75,000 in annual income and joint filers who earn more than $150,000. With oil priced at roughly $90-100 per barrel, this levy would raise approximately $48.1 billion per year. At this price, single filers would receive an estimated $255 each year and joint filers $382.
Senator Warnock has worked hard to hold big oil companies accountable. Last year, the Senator introduced the Gas Prices Relief Act to give Georgians an immediate break at the pump by temporarily suspending the federal gas tax. After the Senator introduced his bill, Georgia followed suit and suspended the state gas tax. The Senator also urged President Biden and his Administration to immediately increase scrutiny of big oil companies given recent market volatility, and swiftly target any corporate greed and profiteering. Senator Warnock also introduced the Taxing Big Oil Profiteers Act, which would combat corporate greed and incentivize companies to lower prices at the pump for Georgians by raising taxes on oil and gas companies for greedy practices.
In addition to being co-sponsored by Senator Warnock, the Senate legislation is led by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and is also co-sponsored by Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Jack Reed (D-RI).
Text of the bill can be found here.