Exxon, Chevron Made $71 Billion Profit In 2012 As Consumers Paid Record Gas Prices

While 2012 might not be a banner year for Big Oil profits, it wasn’t a bad one either. With just BP left to announce 2012 earnings, Big Oil earned well over $100 billion in profits last year, while the companies benefit from continued taxpayer subsidies. Average gas prices also hit a record high last year, showing how a drilling boom may help oil companies’ profit margins, but not consumers’ wallets.

ExxonMobil — now the most valuable company in the world, passing Apple — earned $45 billion profit in 2012, a 9 percent jump over 2011. Meanwhile, Chevron earned $26.2 billion for the year. In the final three months of the year, the companies earned $9.95 billion and $7.2 billion respectively.

Here are the highlights of how Exxon and Chevron spend their earnings:


Exxon received $600 million annual tax breaks. In 2011, Exxon paid just 13 percent in taxes. The company paid no taxes to the U.S. federal government in 2009, despite 45.2 billion record profits. It paid $15 billion in taxes, but none in federal income tax.

Exxon’s oil production was down 6 percent from 2011.

In fourth quarter, Exxon bought back $5.3 billion of its stock, which enriches the largest shareholders and executives of the company.

Exxon’s federal campaign contributions totaled $2.77 million for the 2012 cycle, sending 89 percent to Republicans.

The company spent $12.97 million lobbying in 2012 to protect low tax rates and block pollution controls and safeguards for public health.

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson received $24.7 million total compensation.

Exxon is moving ahead with a project to develop the tar sands in Canada.


In October, Chevron made the single-largest corporate donation in history. Chevron dropped $2.5 million with the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC to elect House Republicans.

The bulk of Chevron’s federal contributions came from the super PAC donation, for a total of $3.87 million for the 2012 cycle. 85 percent went to Republicans.

Chevron spent $9.55 million lobbying Congress in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Chevron paid 19 percent U.S. taxes last year (half of the top corporate tax rate of 35 percent), and received an estimated $700 million in annual tax breaks last year.

Chevron was fined $1 million for a refinery fire that sent 15,000 Richmond, California residents to the hospital. Though the company faces $10 million in medical expenses, Chevron earns it back in a couple of hours.

With Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips reporting $35 billion in combined profit in 2012, BP is the last company left to announce its profits for the year.

17 Responses to Exxon, Chevron Made $71 Billion Profit In 2012 As Consumers Paid Record Gas Prices

  1. MoeizW says:

    Obviously, these guys need a tax cut.

  2. And don’t forget that Exxon Mobil is one of the primary funders of front groups that deny global warming. Just a small marketing cost for it.

  3. Ozonator says:

    But Looter Limbaugh has just said that gun sales are driving President Obama’s economy with a little help from fracking. The EssoKochs must, therefore, need more subsidies.

  4. Speaking of oil companies and climate misery, I dug into the GHG projections released in BC’s latest Energy Outlook 2030 and discovered that their own global economic/energy models say humanity’s “most likely” future is 4C of climate “disaster”.

    When the oil companies are publishing data showing we are heading off a climate cliff you know things are starting to get scary.

    For those that want the details, the article I wrote about has been picked up by Reddit and others and is getting lots of traffic and can be read here:

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    As the ancient Greek philosophers discerned, greed, or pleonexia, is literally infinite, truly insatiable, amongst those afflicted by it. A society owned and totally controlled by this type, must, inevitably, consume itself, which is where we are now.

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    A society where truth and scientific reality is determined by the weight of money, has the sickness unto death, and we are in the palliative care ward.

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    More circumstantial evidence that the Masters know exactly what is happening, and wish it to occur. That their behaviour is simply insouciant indifference in the face of this disaster is too much to believe, even for this type.

  8. Artful Dodger says:

    I think Barry meant “BP Energy Outlook 2030”.

    BC’s (British Columbia) energy outlook is hydro- and solar-electric, and NO Northern Gateway pipeline transporting tarsands bitumen through their Province.

    A bright future for some forward-thinking folks. ;^)

  9. Matt says:

    These companies now function as monopolies. They do not compete. The laws of supply and demand are inconsequential, unless they can be used to justify an arbitrary increase in price to the consumer. They are the tail wagging the dog.

  10. bear it all says:

    it just may very well be time to think about nationalizing the oil companies. just sayin’ …….

  11. Lews Swanson says:

    Corporate welfare at its worst.

  12. kliklok00 says:

    We purchase their product and then bitch about how evil they are. They provide hundreds of thousands of jobs, yet we want to nationalize them. And it is OUR ELECTED CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS who give them the tax money, yet we keep electing the same morons. Who is the idiot(s) here?

  13. Michael Valentine says:

    As a liberal Christian I’d like to point out that Jesus taught us that we could either serve God or money.

    Just saying.

  14. Dave Feaker says:

    Maybe the Federal Gov’t should open a chain of gas stations and solve the deficit in record time

  15. Ban exploitive fossil (DEAD) fuel industry corporatist until they help heal Rather than kill the planet. Be ALIVE, join the living, use renewables for energy, Create buildings with Net 0+ energy consumption for housing, retrofits, + rehabilitations, commercial and institutional and industry.

  16. shane says:

    if this was a publicly owned company we could have used the $71 billion dollars to pay down the deficit, or pay for medicare or medicaid or infrastructure improvements; but we decided to give it to a handful of rich people so they can live lives of luxury. how stupid is that?

  17. Phil Arthur says:

    Waiting for the Dept. of Justice to use the Patriot Act to curtail the “economic terrorism” perpetrated by some of the more prominent greed mongers against Main Street. Afterall, if our national security is tied to the strength of our economy, that certainly includes taxpayers being gouged out of work.