Senator Michael Bennet has joined other lawmakers in introducing a tax aimed at limiting the profits of big oil companies in the wake of rising gas prices in Colorado and across the country.

“We must use every tool at our disposal to protect Coloradans from rising energy costs and provide them with relief, and this legislation will help us do that,” Bennet said in a statement. declaration Friday. “As Putin wages a reprehensible and lawless war against Ukraine and throws the global energy market into chaos, we must hold the big oil and gas companies accountable and stop them from using this moment to exploit consumers. Americans.”

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If the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax is passed, oil companies that produce or import at least 300,000 barrels of oil per day will have to pay a tax, per barrel, equal to 50% of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and the average price per barrel before the pandemic between 2015 and 2019, according to the press release.

Small oil companies representing around 70% of national oil production would be exempt from this tax.

Last year, profits at ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest oil companies, rose more than 60% from pre-pandemic levels to more than $23 billion. During the same period, the price of a gallon of gasoline rose from an average of just under $2.70 to just over $3.40, according to Bennet’s statement.

The average price of a gallon of gas today is over $4.

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, and co-sponsored by a dozen senators, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who often votes with Democrats, and Democratic sense Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. , Jeff Merkley from Oregon, and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose a windfall excise tax on crude oil and to refund the tax collected to individual taxpayers, according to the text of the bill, which was sent by emailed to Newsline by Whitehouse’s communications adviser.

“We have seen this scenario before, and we cannot allow the fossil fuel industry to once again reap a massive windfall by taking advantage of an international crisis,” Whitehouse said in a declaration Last week.

Revenues

If passed, income generated would be returned to consumers as a quarterly refund, which would be phased out for single filers who earn more than $75,000 in income each year, according to Whitehouse’s statement. The quarterly reimbursement would be phased out for co-filers who earn more than $150,000 in annual income. Whitehouse’s statement says that at $120 a barrel of oil, the tax would raise about $45 billion a year, so single filers would get about $240 a year and joint filers would get about $360 a year.

“Big Oil raked in $174 billion in profits last year – and with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine driving up gas prices, they’re on track to make even more,” tweeted Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who co-sponsored the bill.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has further disrupted an already unstable global oil market, Bennett said, by reducing supply and causing governments to limit imports of Russian energy.

“Americans want to put pressure on Putin, but they need help with high gas prices,” Merkley said in the Whitehouse statement. “So let’s tax oil company war profiteers and send gas rebate checks to Americans.”