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It's almost expected now that each quarter Exxon Mobil will produce a new record profit. Last quarter, though, as the largest publicly traded oil company in the world saw its profits decline by 27 percent, that didn't happen. Don't feel too bad for the company, though, as even in a down market, the oil giant still took in $84.7 billion, which was enough to set a new record for profit over the entire year of 2008 at $45.2 billion. Record high fuel prices from the second and third quarters of last

If you have any questions about why it will be very, very difficult for biofuel start-ups and solar car enthusiasts to compete in the oil-friendly auto industry, don't look only at the technological troubles with lithium-ion batteries or getting biodiesel from algae. Look at the cash register over at Exxon Mobil. The company has just posted 2006 profits (not revenue, which was an obscene $377.64 billion last year) of $39.5 billion. Aside from being the largest annual profit by a U.S. company, ho