Taxpayers handing $33 billion to oil companies

Taxpayers handing $33 billion to oil companies



Nick Berning, 202-222-0748

New Analysis Finds $33 Billion in Taxpayer-Funded Giveaways to Oil Companies Over Next Five Years

Big Oil benefits from tax loopholes, royalty rollbacks, R&D subsidies and accounting gimmicks

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Even though it is already experiencing record profits, the oil and gas industry is set to receive at least $33 billion in handouts from taxpayers over the next five years, according to a new analysis released today by Friends of the Earth.

“This is a tremendous sum for taxpayers to be doling out to the oil and gas industry,” said Friends of the Earth’s Erich Pica, who authored the analysis. “The corporate fat cats at these big oil companies are already earning record profits—they don’t need our tax dollars too. There are far smarter places to use this money, including bringing down energy costs by investing in the clean power sources of the future, such as wind and solar.”

Friends of the Earth’s analysis found that over the next five years oil companies stand to gain at least $23.2 billion from tax loopholes, $3.8 billion in royalty rollbacks, $1.6 billion in direct subsidies for research and development, and $4.3 billion through accounting gimmicks. The analysis found that tax giveaways have increased dramatically since the passage of a Republican-drafted energy bill in 2005.

“These giveaways to Big Oil make zero policy sense whatsoever—the only explanation is that the industry’s corporate lobbyists have taken over Washington,” Pica said. “Congress can and should end these subsidies and invest this money in promoting affordable clean energy instead.”

The analysis can be found at: /pdf/FoE_Oil_Giveaway_Analysis_2008.pdf.



Friends of the Earth ( is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 70 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has been at the forefront of high-profile efforts to create a more healthy, just world.