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ExxonMobil announced this week that it plans to sell off 2,200, or nearly 1/5, of its 12,000 gas stations because they aren't profitable enough. This, from the world's biggest oil company, after having posted the largest yearly profit ever—$40.61 billion—that's almost $1,300 every second. With the average price at the pump having recently breached the $4/gal mark, an increase of more than one dollar from a year ago, you'd think that the money would continue flowing.
But apparently our oil companies are feeling the shift in the winds.
Though many Americans are hit hard by high gas prices, it's increasingly difficult to ignore the ones who are finding alternatives. These days more and more people are commuting by mass and public transit systems, as well as by carpool and bike. Many more are turning to hybrids or filling their tanks with biofuels. And as this latest sell-off suggests, even our oil companies are transitioning. CNN quotes Ben Soraci, the U.S. director of retail sales for ExxonMobil, saying, "As the highly competitive fuels marketing business in the U.S. continues to evolve, we believe this transition is the best way for ExxonMobil to compete and grow in the future."
This may mark the beginning of our energy industry transitioning out of oil. The question remains, what are they transitioning to?
Photo used under creative commons license.