After decades of growing fat off the taxpayers, oil and gas companies are crying now that the meal may be done.

In the 2012 budget, the Obama administration is, again, targeting the $3.6 billion fossil fuel industries receive in tax breaks and taxpayer-funded subsidies. Maybe the third time will be the charm for this effort.

These dirty energy subsidies need to be addressed now. The national deficit can’t continue to grow because the oil and gas companies that are collecting record profits with one hand are collecting government welfare with the other. For instance:

  1. Oil companies like Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips are recording record profits while the prices we pay at the pump still run high.
  2. Ending the subsidies and tax benefits companies like this receive could save nearly $40 billion over the next five years. These tax breaks were granted to the industry at a time when oil was selling at $30 per barrel and domestic energy producers needed help to compete with foreign industries. Now that oil is selling at $100 per barrel, taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing one of the most profitable industries in the world.
  3. Our analysis of Energy Information Administration data shows that oil industry profits track to gas prices, suggesting that oil companies profit the greatest when Americans pay the most at the pump.

Meanwhile, oil and gas companies are complaining about having to wait for common sense standards and protections to be enforced before they can buy up more of our nation’s land. They conveniently forget to mention the 30 million acres they already own – of which they’ve only touched 10 million acres.

It’s no secret that the American economy needs help, and our government has to tighten its belt. Oil companies revenues are greater than some countries’ gross income.