The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

The New York Times Looks at Corporate Taxes

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 28, 2013

Neat interactive infographic in this weekend’s New York Times Sunday Review, plotting the corporate income tax rates paid by various U.S. companies from 2007-2012 (according S&P Capital IQ):

NYT Taxes

We couldn’t help noticing one of the captions below the bubbles, second from the right, showing the location of three oil and natural gas companies – ExxonMobil (37 percent effective tax rate), Chevron (39 percent) and ConocoPhillips (74 percent, or more than $58 billion on earnings of nearly $79 billion) – all well above the 29.1 percent overall effective tax rate, according to the data set used by The Times.

You can see where individual industry sectors stand. Here’s an "iso-graphic" for the oil and natural gas industry (average 37 percent effective tax rate):

Energy Industry

And for the information technology industry (average 21 percent), including Apple’s (large purple bubble) 14 percent:

Info Tech Industry

This is not to suggest anything about other industries and the taxes they pay. Rather, this shows that the oil and natural gas industry pays its fair share in taxes and then some – about $85 million a day. Here’s another comparison of effective tax rates by industry, also based on S&P data:

Effective Tax Rates

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry pays taxes at this level because it is robust and growing, supporting more than 9.2 million jobs. With pro-growth, pro-energy development policies, our industry could generate more revenue for government – more than $127 billion in additional, cumulative revenue by 2020 and more than $800 billion by 2030, according to a study by Wood Mackenzie. These totals dwarf the revenue that could be gained by raising industry’s taxes, as some have proposed. The better, smarter path – one that generates far more revenue for governments – is to increase access to U.S. oil and natural gas reserves, develop common-sense regulatory regimes and allow these companies to do what they do well for America.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.