Chevron, the second largest U.S. oil company, reported a 36% jump in quarterly earnings on April 29. Net earnings in the three months to March 31 hit $6.2 billion, up from $4.6 billion a year earlier, on a 25% rise in revenues.
"Current quarter earnings from upstream operations benefited from higher prices for crude oil, while downstream operations benefited from improved margins on refined petroleum products," explained Chevron chief executive John Watson.
Chevron's report came a day after industry leader ExxonMobil, the world's largest listed company by market value, turned in a $10.7 billion net income for the quarter, a leap of 69% from a year earlier.
The rising price of oil, driven by strong demand in boom economies like China and India and curtailed supplies from strife-torn Middle East producers, has translated into soaring pump prices in the US that are weighing on the country's economic recovery.
Gasoline prices have risen 36%, or roughly one dollar a gallon, to an average $3.91 a gallon in a year. Two years ago, prices were nearly half the current price, at $2.04 a gallon.
The issue is feeding into the country's political fight, with President Barack Obama saying he wants to cut some $4 billion in subsidies to oil companies to help boost the government's income, while opponents say that will not help and could add to high prices.
"We have got a real problem here. Families day-to-day, they are driving to work. They are just watching their paychecks get whittled away. They need some relief," Obama said on April 26.