Monday, April 22, 2013

An Excellent Example of the Misleading Statistic

I came across this graphic today, at an ExxonMobil blog designed to showcase how nice and wonderful they are:
And it's a lovely piece of misdirection, as is the post it's embedded in.

Did you catch the slight-of-hand? Exxon only counts their profits, but they're comparing that to the revenue going to US government entities. They of course aren't explaining how those profits are determined (or even which piece of the multi-company ExxonMobil entity those profits are attributed to -- there could be a quadruple Double Irish Dutch Sandwich in there, with a couple of trips to the Caymans and Luxembourg to boot), but just holding their hands out, pleading poverty and saying that they only make seven cents in profit on a single gallon of gas.

Note that the US consumed 134 billion gallons of gas in 2011, and ExxonMobil has roughly a 6.8% share of that market -- figures from California, which releases those publicly; it looks like most state-by-state figures are figured by consultants and sold to industry. So that's only about $638 million dollars in profit, for what may be only the retail consumer-sales operations of ExxonMobil.

Must be nice to be in the "awl bidness".

1 comment:

Walt said...

ExxonMobil's profits, which are public, are sizable but dwarfed by their expenses. Still only seven cents per gallon sold.
The taxes, 48 cents per gallon, are nearly seven times ExxonMobil's profits. True, this does not count law enforcement nor tax compliance officers or bullets or jails, but this overhead wouldn't noticeably diminish even if there were no oil tax revenue.
These taxes are as close to expense free revenue as you'll find on the planet.

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