The oil industry’s leading trade group is trying to tamp down calls for new taxes as its member companies report big profits fueled by high crude prices.
In a conference call with reporters today, the American Petroleum Institute’s chief economist, John Felmy, stressed that when the oil industry does well, so do retirees and others who have invested in it. Big oil industry profits mean more value for pensions and investment portfolios, Felmy said.
“Oil companies are not owned by space aliens,” Felmy said. “They’re owned by taxpaying Americans who have their investments in 401Ks” and other accounts.
ConocoPhillips on Monday said it had a net income of $2.94 billion from January to March, but its revenue remained flat at $58.4 billion.
Other major oil companies are set to report their first-quarter earnings this week.
Felmy insisted that strong oil company earnings translate to more jobs and capital investment in the U.S.
“When our companies perform well financially, they invest more, hire more and pay huge amounts in taxes to our government,” Felmy said.
The API’s push — which includes online advertising to send the same message — comes amid calls on Capitol Hill to eliminate a broad swath of industry tax breaks. The Obama administration has asked for the tax incentives to be spiked unsuccessfully for three years.
The oil industry and its allies in Congress argue that spiking the tax breaks would dissuade domestic investment, push down energy development in the United States and could feed higher gasoline prices.
But in a fact check on API’s claims, the Center for American Progress said eliminating several of the tax incentives would not affect U.S. gasoline prices.