President Joe Biden sent a letter to oil companies telling them to get with his program — or else.
A letter dated Wednesday was sent to major oil companies warning them that if they do not increase gasoline flow to the pumps, he could force them to do so.
The letter obtained by Axios repeats Biden’s claim that the major cause of the gasoline price spike in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But after multiple castigations and finger-pointing at Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Biden said oil companies share the blame.
The letter said oil companies should take “immediate action” to increase supplies.
“There is no question that Vladimir Putin is principally responsible for the intense financial pain the American people and their families are bearing,” Biden wrote. “But amid a war that has raised gasoline prices more than $1.70 per gallon, historically high refinery profit margins are worsening that pain.”
“My administration is prepared to use all reasonable and appropriate federal government tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and output in the near term, and to ensure that every region of this country is appropriately supplied,” Biden wrote.
Biden noted in the letter that oil companies are making him look bad.
“The lack of refining capacity — and resulting unprecedented refinery profit margins — are blunting the impact of the historic actions my Administration has taken to address Vladimir Putin’s Price Hike and are driving up costs for consumers,” Biden wrote, adding, “Your companies need to work with my Administration.”
The letter did not go over well on Twitter.
In letter to Exxon CEO, Biden twists himself up trying to cast blame for high gas prices. He’s been blaming ‘Putin’s price hike’ for months, but now wants to blame oil companies, too. So he adjusts the story… https://t.co/48qgWyTGFp pic.twitter.com/ifRss9m2Kh
— Byron York (@ByronYork) June 15, 2022
“Joe Biden owns this inflation,” says Sam Zell on President Biden’s letter to energy companies. “Blaming oil companies this week doesn’t avoid the reality that the real blame here is policy or lack thereof.” pic.twitter.com/1Ef5NDrmm3
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) June 15, 2022
2022: Oil companies need to ramp up production
— Growth & Value (@Growth_Value_) June 15, 2022
Biden also said answers need to be forthcoming.
“I have directed the Secretary of Energy to convene an emergency meeting on this topic,” Biden wrote, telling the companies he wanted “concrete ideas” for solving the crisis, as well as explanations of why refining capacity has been cut over the past two years.
“I understand that many factors contributed to the business decisions to reduce refinery capacity, which occurred before I took office,” he wrote.
“But at a time of war, refinery profit margins well above normal being passed directly onto American families are not acceptable.”
Although Biden said he wants a quick fix, the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Friday released estimates that “refinery utilization will reach a monthly average level of 96 percent twice this summer, near the upper limits of what refiners can consistently maintain,” according to KXAS-TV.
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