The chart below shows the difference graphically:
For every gallon of gasoline, diesel or finished products we manufactured and sold in the United States in the last three months of 2010, we earned a little more than 2 cents per gallon. That’s not a typo. Two cents.
This map from API shows gasoline taxes by state (combined local, state and federal), which range from a low of 26.4 cents per gallon in Alaska to a high of of 66.1 cents per gallon in California, averaging 48.1 cents per gallon across all states. How does that compare to oil company industry profits per gallon?
[Click all to enlarge]
Exxon also reports that in 2010 it "made less than 8 cents for every dollar of revenue from all of our businesses around the world."
So even if Exxon would have been able to earn its full 8% profit margin on gasoline sold in the U.S., it would still only have made about 23 cents per gallon at the average price per gallon in the last quarter of $2.88. And that would have been less than half of the average 48 cents per gallon gasoline tax.