Phoenix Residents Got Hammered by Higher Prices While Companies Made Record Profits

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

By Keya Vakil

January 13, 2022

Inflation was a big deal in 2021, especially in the Phoenix metro area, where consumer prices surged by nearly 10%, driven largely by the rising cost of gas.

A portion of that increase was necessary to cover rising costs faced by companies amid worker shortages and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, but oil companies jacked up prices more than necessary. How do we know? Well, because they recorded enormous profits (in Exxon’s case, the largest in four years), bought back billions of dollars of their own stocks, and enriched their shareholders and CEOs to the tune of tens of millions of dollars—all while ordinary Arizonans struggled. 

In November, the Biden administration released 50 million barrels of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to address the crisis and lower prices for Americans. Since then, oil companies began to lower their prices and the cost of gas has trickled down. In the Phoenix metro area, the cost of a gallon of regular gas has decreased by 17 cents over the past month, according to AAA.

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  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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