A lot of people would have thought with record-high gas prices in the U.S., all the oil companies would be making a killing. At least for one oil giant, that isn’t the case.

According to a report in today’s New York Times:

Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, said it would sell the roughly 2,220 service stations it owned across the United States, including about 820 that it also operated.

The company will maintain the Exxon and Mobil brands, an Exxon spokeswoman, Prem Nair, said.

Of the 12,000 or so Exxon Mobil-branded stations in the United States, about 75 percent are already owned by others.

Exxon cites “very challenging” business conditions as the cause for selling off its retail gas business in the U.S. Apparently, in spite of gas prices being 31% higher than last year, the gas station business is still not a big money maker.

The company says the profit margins inherent in its business model are not feasible. Looks like they see more money right now in selling these stations to independent owners.

Does this mean the low demand for gas is finally hurting the gas companies? It was only a matter of time before people began to realize they couldn’t afford to fill up with a gallon costing more than $4.

Congratulations, everyone! Keep those gas cap locks fastened tightly and don’t stop burning down your local fill up spots! I think all those half-baked schemes might actually be working. No. Not really. Driving this summer will continue to suck.

NYT: Exxon Plans To Sell Its Gas Stations, June 13, 2008