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Exxon Profits, Everyone Else...Not So Much

Single oil company reaps 45 percent of Fortune 500 profits.

Worth noting: the Fortune 500 -- a list of America's 500 highest-grossing corporations -- had their worst year ever last year. Total profits for the nation's 500 largest corporations fell from $645 billion in 2007 to just $99 billion in 2008. That's a decline of nearly 85 percent, if you're counting.

But the company in the number one slot -- Exxon Mobil -- did astonishingly well, with total profits surpassing $45 billion last year. In other words, a single oil company got over 45 percent of the net profits of the entire Fortune 500.

To be fair, a lot of Fortune 500 companies posted net losses -- so the 45 percent figure is a bit contrived. Still, it's no surprise that Exxon has had so much money to throw at global warming denialism -- they've got a whole lot of money to throw!

This piece originally appeared in Sightline Institute's blog, The Daily Score.

Photo credit: Flickr/TheTruthAbout..., Creative Commons License.

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Posted by: greenfreak on 22 Apr 09

You are right that Exxon had the most profits, but wouldn't you expect that from the company with the highest revenue? One of the things you need to be careful of is using numbers to mislead people. When I got my Fortune 500 in the mail, I'm more interested in who is making the highest percent profit on revenue. Exxon percent is 10.2, not bad, but nothing near the top. In fact of the top 20 companies in the Fortune 500 with the highest profits as a percentage of revenues, only 4 are oil and gas companies.

Another thing to remember is that oil and natural gas are commodities, so the companies that produce that have no control over the price (unless you are OPEC). If you wait until next year I think you'll see Exxon's amazing profits drop considerable and it will have nothing to do with them! Are you going to call out Microsoft for price gouging? Their profits as a percentage of revenue was 29.3!

The reason to produce alternative energy is to protect our country from the Middle East, Venezuela, and Russia, places that have the natural resources we use and would use that dependence against us. Oil and gas companies are not the bad guys, they take huge risks to find and produce the resources we need, let's help them do what they do, so we have time to develop more sustainable options. The people of the United States will never accept alternative options until they are cost effect.


Posted by: Bobby on 7 May 09

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