In a letter sent to Marathon Petroleum, Valero Energy, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Chevron, BP and Shell, President Joe Biden called on U.S. oil refiners to immediately produce more gasoline and diesel.
“At a time of war – historically high refinery profit margins being passed directly onto American families are not acceptable,” Biden said in the letter. “[C]ompanies must take immediate actions to increase the supply of gasoline, diesel, and other refined product.”
“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 averaging slightly over $5 a gallon and the government reported on Friday that consumer prices had jumped 8.6% from a year ago, the highest increase in more than 40 years.
The letter notes that gas prices were averaging $4.25 a gallon when oil was last near the current price of $120 a barrel in March. “Since the beginning of the year, refiners’ margins for refining gasoline and diesel have tripled, and are currently at their highest levels ever recorded,” he wrote in the letter.
The president has harshly criticized what he views as profiteering amid a global crisis that could potentially push Europe and other parts of the world into a recession, saying after a speech Friday that ExxonMobil “made more money than God this year.” ExxonMobil responded by saying it has already informed the administration of its planned investments to increase oil production and refining capacity.
“There is no question that (Russian President) Vladimir Putin is principally responsible for the intense financial pain the American people and their families are bearing,” Biden’s letter says. “But amid a war that has raised gasoline prices more than $1.70 per gallon, historically high refinery profit margins are worsening that pain.”
Biden is asking each company to explain to Granholm any drop in refining capacity since 2020, when the pandemic began. He also wants the companies to provide “any concrete ideas that would address the immediate inventory, price, and refining capacity issues in the coming months — including transportation measures to get refined product to market.”
Biden added that the administration was ready to use “all reasonable and appropriate Federal Government tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and output in the near term.”
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: FT.COM
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