May 19, 2022

Collin Rees,

Climate Groups Praise Democrats’ Action on Price Gouging, Urge Leaders to Back a Windfall Profits Tax

Climate groups push Democrats to take the next step to stop price gouging and provide relief to American consumers with a Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax

WASHINGTON, DC — House Democrats passed legislation today that will make it illegal for Big Oil to gouge consumers at the gas pump or on their home heating bills.

U.S. Representatives Kim Schrier and Katie Porter’s Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act would give President Biden the power to issue an Energy Emergency Declaration that would make it unlawful to increase gasoline and home energy fuel prices in an exploitative manner.

While families continue to struggle under the weight of artificially high gas prices, the top 21 U.S oil and gas companies raked in more than $40 billion in the first quarter of this year alone. Rather than stabilizing gas prices, these companies are using their record profits to enrich their executives and shareholders to the tune of $60 billion in stock buybacks and dividend payments this year.

While this is an important first step towards curbing Big Oil’s shameless war profiteering, more must be done to reign in Big Oil’s power and protect the American consumer. A Windfall Profits Tax would tax Big Oil’s obscene earnings in order to send direct relief to Americans struggling with high prices — and an overwhelming 80% of voters support it.

The fact is, Big Oil isn’t interested in lowering prices — it wants to keep taking advantage of the war in Ukraine to drive them up. “Whether it’s $150 oil, $200 oil, or $100 oil, we’re not going to change our growth plans,” Pioneer Chief Executive Officer Scott Sheffield told Bloomberg TV.

Democrats are on the right track towards holding Big Oil accountable — but they cannot stop there. Congress must listen to the majority of Americans and pass a Windfall Profits Tax as soon as possible.

In response, leading environmental, climate and frontline organizations released the following statements:

“Big Oil is gouging working families at the gas pump, and it’s critical to hold these companies accountable for their exploitative practices. The Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act is a great start, and it’s good to see Democrats pass Rep. Schrier and Rep. Porter’s bill today,” said Collin Rees, United States Program Manager at Oil Change International. “Our leaders must stand up for people, not polluters. But emergency powers and FTC investigations aren’t enough on their own — the House must move next to tax the fossil fuel industry’s windfall profits.”

“The oil and gas industry has shamelessly sought to use the cover of inflation and international conflict to jack up prices and enrich their executives and investors while American families face skyrocketing energy costs,” said Sierra Club Deputy Legislative Director Mahyar Sorour. “We applaud House Democrats for pushing forward this critical legislation to hold Big Oil accountable and protect communities from fossil fuel industry greed, and we urge the Senate to pass this legislation and send it to the president’s desk.”

“While this legislation is an important first step, taxing Big Oil’s windfall profits is essential to hold the industry accountable and provide working families with needed economic relief. Price gouging by the fossil fuel industry is actively driving record inflation, hurting every corner of the economy,” Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program. “We hope today’s vote is a first step toward stemming Big Oil’s profiteering from Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine, and that Congress will take steps to protect consumers through a windfall profits tax.”

“No party that refuses to confront Big Oil should expect to stay in the majority for long,” said Lukas Ross, Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “Today’s vote on price-gouging was a strong first step, but much more work needs to be done. A stronger FTC today and a windfall profits tax tomorrow.”

“Congress must protect Americans from Big Oil’s greed. Shell, Exxon, and Chevron made over $20 billion in combined profit during the first three months of 2022 while they gouged us at the pump,” said Ashley Thomson, senior climate campaigner at Greenpeace USA. “The fossil fuel industry depends on passing its costs onto families, its workers, and communities, while hoarding profits for CEOs and shareholders. It’s time for the exploitation of our planet and pockets to end. A Windfall Profits Tax would prioritize the wellbeing of people over the fossil fuel industry’s war profiteering, pollution, and planetary destruction.”

“House Democrats just put Big Oil on notice for gouging Americans at the pump. Now they need to take the additional step and pass a Big Oil Windfall profits tax that will deliver immediate relief to Americans struggling with high gas prices,” said Jamie Henn, spokesperson for Stop The Oil Profiteering. “Big Oil’s profiteering has been fueling the inflation that’s hurting families across this country. Reigning them in is key to stabilizing our economy and the climate.”