Thursday, April 28, 2011

Katie Couric and Exxon Mobil

The American economy grew 1.8% in the first quarter of 2011. In that same quarter, Exxon Mobil profits grew by 69%.

Katie Couric, on the CBS Evening News tonight: “Exxon wants you to know less than 3% of its profits come from gas and diesel fuel sales.” Gee, for a minute there I thought something was out of whack.

comments: 8

Barnaby Capel-Dunn said...

Can that be true, Michael? Where do their profits come from then?

Michael Leddy said...

Here’s Exxon Mobil’s explanation. What strikes me though: 1.8% v. 69%, and Couric’s breezy phrasing about what Exxon “wants you to know.”

Gunther said...

Does Couric want us to take pity on Exxon Mobile? Or is it an exlanation for something we don't know yet?

Michael Leddy said...

It seemed to me that Couric was speaking on behalf of Exxon Mobil (not “Exxon says” but “Exxon wants you to know”). I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more said about it.

Anonymous said...

"For every gallon of gasoline, diesel or finished products we manufactured and sold in the United States in the last three months of 2010, we earned a little more than 2 cents per gallon. That’s not a typo. Two cents."

Source: "Gasoline Taxes Per Gallon Are Almost 7 Times ExxonMobil's Profit: 42 cents vs. 7 cents for QI"

http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2011/04/gasoline-taxes-per-gallon-vs-exxon.html

When considering "profits," what percentage profit on an item is acceptable to someone is a matter of political stance. With "profit" to governments six times the profits to the makers of a product, the only remaining thing to do is ask "who profits more?"

Michael Leddy said...

Did you notice that I linked to Exxon Mobil’s explanation above? The explanation contains the very passage you’ve quoted. The link is in the word explanation, four comments back.

Anonymous said...

I did notice and the question of explanations is most important, we both will agree.

Here's a small challenge, something which I did for gas prices and gas taxes where I live: Research the amount paid in costs, profits and taxes, and then compare the numbers. Growth from one to two is indeed one hundred percent profit, for example, but if from $1 to $2, it is very different from $1 million to....

Ms. Couric's seven figure salary is something about which we might also compute statistics versus the previous anchor, in which case the explanation would be quite akin to hers.

I do not debate that energy companies profit; I merely debate whether the profit per gallon is rational or obscene. Based on all I have seen, it seems sadly rational in a sometimes obscene world.

Michael Leddy said...

I have no problem with 2¢ a gallon. What I noticed: 1. the difference between 1.8% and 69% and 2. Couric’s taking on the role of corporate spokesperson.