And You Thought All the Profits From the Gas Increase Went to the Mideast?

I started paying attention to the drastic upward rise in oil company profits late last year, particularly the ExxonMobil conglomerate, the world's largest. At the time of my last post, company profits had shot up an amazing 75 percent over the third quarter to some $9.9 billion, then a record for an American company.

ExxonMobil left last quarter's numbers in the dust, with today's announcement of profits rising almost 10 percent to $10.7 billion, despite a slight decrease in production, again thanks to the barrage of hurricanes that devastated the Gulf Coast. Overall, the company's net income for the year rose a startling 43 percent to about $36 billion.

Did those profits help anyone other than shareholders, whose stock climbed nearly $6? Did it help you pay your bills any faster? Are most of the people victimized by Katrina any better off than they were last fall? And, are those increases earmarked for Iraqis to help them rebuild their country?

Worth thinking about the next time you fill up your SUV...

USA Today January 30, 2006

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