There was some stuff in the news about the government possibly breaking up the 5 big oil companies into smaller companies. I think a while back there was something like 12 or 14 smaller companies spread across the US. I'm not sure a break-up would really help the situation in terms of prices at the pump. Supposedly it would promote competition between the oil companies. 9 billion a quarter is definitely a ridiculous amount though. It would be interesting to know where all of that goes. Research, refineries, more gas stations, buying more oil? I wouldn't mind if they sent me a check.
Research, refineries, more gas stations, buying more oil?
Considering that new refinaries haven't been built in decades and there major discoveries have virtually hit zero, no. Taking a look at the profit margins, it's very obvious that the extra money is being pocketed by the higher ups. Of course, your question appeared rhetorical anyway.
A few side notes:
You can thank these companies for helping kill the EV's near-term prospects, along with the auto industry and big government.
A little article I wrote some time back on EV politics:
I'm currently working on an updated version of that article, which will be posted here when finished(and at EV world and elsewhere).
Further, big oil has consistently lobbied against higher CAFE standards, for obvious reasons, and in the 40s conspired with the car companies and government to destroy what mass transit we had.
We might be hypocrites merely by buying their product today, but make no mistake: our wasteful reliance on oil was engineered to increase spending and grow the economy and it is not entirely of our own will.
IMO, given the human rights abuses these oil companies are responsible for, I'd have no problem with some of these executives being hauled out and shot on site. One example is what Shell Oil has done to Nigeria. They attempted to kick villagers off of their land in the 70s and 80s, failed, so they sent in a bubnch of mercenaries to kill them, succeeded, and drilled on the land. Nigeria is being treated like a cesspool for big oil's air and water pollution while the people suffer from the ill effects of the pollution. It has rendered their land incapable of bearing crops and forests incapable of sustaining hunter-gatherer societies. They've helped rig elections to keep in power dictators favorable to their interests, dictators which have mercilessly killed thousands of people and let millions starve. 73% of Nigeria's 150 million people are living on under $1/day, while Shell Oil makes roughly $6 billion a year in profits from Nigeria alone.
And that's just a very brief and understated synopsis of Shell Oil and Nigeria, not Chad, Iraq, Iran, among others with other companies like Chevron or Esso.
This is an industry responsible for the killing of millions and trampling upon the rights of individuals, all in the name of profit. This industry is partly the reason we are in Iraq right now, why 2,392 American men and women in uniform are never coming back home, and why over 120,000 Iraqi noncombatants are dead.
20% of our imported oil comes from Saudi Arabia, where 15 of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers came.
The effects of our oil use are quite clear if you look at it. This nation will do anytrhing for more, including aiding and abetting the enemy, committing treason, to get its fix. This is a nation of people backed into a corner by their government, seeking to grow their economy at any cost, even if by steering their masses to consume as much as possible through subsidies and destruction of national assets(ie. mass transit), and even by restricting competitive forms of transportation(ie. electric cars). Countless articles blame the consumers for their wastefulness. While on-target, these articles fail to see the entire picture: the consumers weren't given a choice in the matter; they were backed into a corner.