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Study: middle class Americans are major owners of U.S. oil and natural gas companies

WASHINGTON, October 26, 2011 - API Vice President for Regulatory and Economic Policy Kyle Isakower briefed reporters today about an API-commissioned study by Sonecon that showed middle class Americans are principal owners of America's oil and natural gas companies:             

"In 2010, the oil and natural gas industry directly contributed over $470 billion to the U.S. economy in spending, wages and dividends.  The dividends alone totaled about $35 billion and went to stockholders of these publicly traded companies.  The $35 billion in dividends as well as gains in stock prices of oil and gas companies are directly benefiting the tens of millions of Americans who own oil and gas company stock.    

"Public and private pension and retirement plans, including 401(k)s and IRAs, hold nearly 50 percent of all the shares of U.S. oil and natural gas companies, the study says. Individual investors own 20 percent.  And financial institutions and asset management companies own 27 percent.  Altogether, these groups hold more than 97 percent of oil and gas industry stock.  By comparison, the officers and board members of U.S. oil and gas companies own less than three percent of total shares. 

"Policy proposals to increase taxes on U.S. oil and natural gas companies - or proposals that would not allow this industry to use the same business cost recovery provisions available to other industries through our tax code - can give the impression that if only a few rich companies or executives would pay more, the rest of America would have to pay less, or even nothing at all.  The reality is far different: the owners of America's oil and natural gas companies are largely retirees or middle-class Americans saving for retirement. The cost of higher taxes on this industry would be borne largely by them, not by CEOs." 

API represents more than 480 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America's energy, supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7percent of the U.S. economy, delivers more than $86 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested more than $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.
 

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