President-elect Barack Obama is not planning to implement a windfall profit tax on oil companies because prices have dropped below $80 a barrel, an aide said on Tuesday.
“President-elect Obama announced the policy during the campaign because oil prices were above $80 per barrel,” an aide on Obama’s transition team said. “They are currently below that now and expected to stay below that.”
Oil prices have fallen from a record $147 a barrel in July to under $50 this week.
Obama, who signaled early in his campaign for the White House that he would take an active approach to oil markets as president, had planned to use the revenue from a windfall profits tax to fund a tax rebate for low- and middle-income families struggling with high energy prices.
But the aide said Obama’s presidential campaign had already taken the price drop into account six weeks ago. When Obama laid out his economic plan for the middle class in mid-October, revenue from a windfall profit tax was not included because of the price change, he said.
Oil companies steadfastly opposed a tax, saying it would stifle exploration and innovation.
The switch drew applause from industry.