By The Financial District
Biden Tells Oil Refiners: Produce More Gas, Cut Huge Profits
President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged US oil refiners to produce more gasoline and diesel, claiming that profits have tripled during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as Americans struggle with record high gas prices, according to Josh Boak for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: "Your companies need to work with my Administration to bring forward concrete, near-term solutions that address the crisis,” US President Joe Biden told oil companies through a letter.
“The crunch that families are facing deserves immediate action,” Biden wrote in a letter to seven oil refiners. “Your companies need to work with my Administration to bring forward concrete, near-term solutions that address the crisis.”
Gas prices nationwide are a financial burden for many Americans and a political threat to the president's fellow Democrats as the midterm elections approach.
Broader inflation began to rise last year as the US economy recovered from the coronavirus pandemic, but it has recently accelerated as energy and food prices have risen following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, disrupting global commodity markets.
On Friday, the government reported that consumer prices had risen 8.6 percent from a year ago, the largest increase in more than 40 years. The letter notes that when oil was last near the current price of $120 per barrel in March, gas prices were averaging $4.25 per gallon.
The letter states that the 75-cent difference in average gas prices in just a few months reflects both a shortage of refinery capacity and profits that are "currently at their highest levels ever recorded."
According to the American Petroleum Institute (API), which represents the industry, capacity has been reduced as the Biden administration has sought to shift away from fossil fuels as part of its climate change agenda.
“While we appreciate the opportunity to open increased dialogue with the White House, the administration’s misguided policy agenda shifting away from domestic oil and natural gas has compounded inflationary pressures and added headwinds to companies’ daily efforts to meet growing energy needs while reducing emissions,” API CEO Mike Sommers said in a statement.
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