Don’t Let Oil Subsidies Survive the Fiscal Cliff

Target: United States House of Representatives

Goal: End oil subsidies as part of a comprehensive deal to avert the fiscal cliff

Each year, oil companies receive billions of dollars in subsidies from US taxpayers, despite record profits. In 2011, the five largest oil companies, which receive $2.4 billion in annual tax deductions, made a combined profit of $137 billion. As House Republicans spar with the White House in negotiations over the coming fiscal cliff, oil companies continue to receive enormous subsidies, costing taxpayers billions and perpetuating our dependence on an unsustainable, dirty source of energy. According to Taxpayers for Commonsense, the oil industry is set to receive $78 billion in industry-specific and general business subsidies between 2012 and 2017.

Prior attempts at cutting subsidies for oil companies have failed. This past March, a proposal by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to cut 2.4 billion in subsidies to the five largest oil companies failed, despite receiving 51 votes. And, according to Oil Change International, “President Obama has proposed cutting fossil fuel subsidies every year he’s been in office. The projections for savings have varied slightly each year but always hover around $4 billion annually. Congress has never even proposed voting on all of them.”

For those concerned about the potential negative impact of removing oil subsidies, numerous independent analysts have found that cuts in subsidies would not cause an increase in gas prices. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, prices would not increase because, “the price of oil is determined on world markets and tends not to be sensitive to small cost variations experiences in regional production areas.” Even the American Petroleum Institute, which opposes the cuts, acknowledges as much, stating that, “They would not affect the global economics underpinning oil supply and demand, which explain today’s gasoline prices.”

At a time when congress is ostensibly looking into every budgetary nook and cranny to find spending cuts, it just makes sense to end subsidies for one of the most profitable industries on the planet. Even oil executives agree. ConocoPhilips CEO Jim Mulva told Congress in 2010, “with respect to oil and gas exploration and production, we do not need incentives.”

With the fiscal cliff looming, it is time for lawmakers to finally get serious about ending unnecessary subsidies to Big Oil. Sign the petition below and lend your voice to urge Congress to act now and end these costly subsidies.


Dear Congressman,

It is time to get serious about our future. We can help avoid the fiscal cliff and pave the way for a clean energy future by ending unnecessary subsidies to Bil Oil. With the top five oil companies earning a record high combined profit of $137 billion in 2011, do they really need taxpayers’ help? Not according to some oil executives, like JimConoco Philips CEO Jim Mulva who told Congress, “with respect to oil and gas exploration and production, we do not need incentives.”

Ending the subsidies won’t just save taxpayers millions; it will also help steer us away from our dependence on fossil fuels, and thereby reduce associated national security, environmental, and healthcare costs. According to the National Academy of Sciences, burning fossil fuels results in annual health costs of roughly $120 billion.

There are clear benefits to ending oil subsidies, and the cuts would not lead to an increase in the price of gasoline. According to the American Petroleum Institute, ending subsidies “would not affect the global economics underpinning oil supply and demand, which explain today’s gasoline prices.”

The bottom line is that we cannot afford these subsidies, and the oil companies can afford the cuts. I urge you to make ending oil subsidies a part of a comprehensive deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: kenhodge13 via Flickr

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  1. Jennifer Knight says:

    This letter is addressed to ALL congressional representatives, Congressmen AND Congresswomen.

    The country is heading toward economic collapse and we dare to support the massive oil companies?

    What are we thinking?

  2. I’m in financial distress, can’t make it or pay my bills.
    If I get a subsidy I can join society again and perhaps buy more and boost the economy. So can I have some subsidy money too?
    I don’t grow potatoes or corn or oil but I can grow potted plants, ok?

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