There has been a lot of back and forth about oil company profits rising about 30% this past quarter. Obama wants a windfall tax; in response conservatives claim that oil company's profits per dollar of revenue are only $.094, while companies like Microsoft make around $.27 of profit per dollar sold.
I don't understand all the complexities of this, but there appears to be a simple error in the argument: We shouldn't measure oil company profits per dollar, but rather per gallon. Using that anlasis:
At about $3.10 for regular this time last year, Exxon made $.28 per gallon.
At $4.10 for the same gallon today, Exxon makes $.37 per gallon.
There is no indication that producing a single gallon costs these companies any more money today than it did before. Even though the prices of a barrel of light sweet crude has gone up, many of these companies drill their own oil, so they don't pay these prices. Even when they do buy from others, their prices are determined by contracts often signed long ago. Need proof? Exxon's profits per dollar didn't change much from last year, indicating that costs didn't change much. The only difference - the number of actual dollars spent on gas went up 25%.