“At the time of the war, it was unacceptable that refining profit margins were being sent more directly to American households than normal,” the president wrote in a letter to seven companies on Tuesday. “There is no doubt that Vladimir Putin is to blame for the severe financial pain that the American people and their families are experiencing.
He adds, “Lack of refining capacity – and unprecedented refining profit margins – are blurring the impact of the historic steps my administration has taken to address Vladimir Putin’s rising costs and increasing costs to consumers.”
The president and his team have acknowledged that they have not been able to do much to address rising prices in recent weeks, and that measures he has taken so far, such as releasing crude oil from the country’s strategic reserves, have not paid off. .
Several factors, including increased demand following the Govt-19 locks in previous years and the return of passengers to offices, have driven up the price hike. But the White House has sought to focus mainly on Russia’s war in Ukraine, and has accused oil companies of trying to make huge profits from Putin’s occupation.
On Tuesday, Biden’s letter was sent to seven oil companies: Marathon Petroleum, Valero Energy, ExxonMobil, Philips 66, Chevron, PP and Shell. The president said the federal government was ready to use additional emergency powers to increase refining capacity and productivity, while urging Biden companies to “take immediate action to increase the supply of petrol, diesel and other refined products.”
“In addition my administration is ready to use all reasonable and appropriate federal government tools and emergency authorities to rapidly increase refining capacity and output, and to ensure that every part of this country is properly delivered,” he writes. “I’m ready to use all the tools at my disposal to address barriers to providing Americans with an affordable, secure energy supply.”
Biden writes that he has instructed Energy Secretary Jennifer Cronhome to hold an emergency meeting with the National Petroleum Council on the issue. Prior to the meeting, Biden asked Cronhome to “explain your refining capacity reduction from 2020 onwards and any definite ideas that could address immediate inventory, pricing and refining capacity issues in the coming months – including transportation. Measures to bring refined products to market.”
“The crisis facing families deserves immediate action. Your companies must work with my management to come forward with concrete, near-term solutions that will address the crisis and respect the vital role of energy workers and fence-tax communities,” Biden writes.
Gronholm told CNN’s John Berman on Wednesday “New Day” that management was considering every option to reduce record-high gas prices.
“You have heard about the various measures that Congress can take. The Defense Production Act is on the table used by the President in other contexts. But he wants to hear – the reason he wrote this letter. .
Biden said he “always looks at every tool” and noted that he also uses strategic petroleum reserves.
Granholm will not say whether the White House will support the additional tax proposed by Senate Ron Whiden of Oregon Democrats. A senator’s spokesman said Wyden would impose a 21% surcharge on the excess profits of oil and gas companies, which make more than $ 1 billion in revenue.
“The president is calling for increased oil production in the United States and around the world, and he is calling for more refining capacity, and he is inviting them to a meeting to ask, ‘What can we do to help that?’
Citing the current “war period” in the midst of Russia’s occupation of Ukraine, he called for a short – term increase in supplies.
“We urge them to stay – in this era of wartime, we need to consider increasing supply both domestically and internationally,” he said, adding that in the long run, the United States has been striving for cleanliness. Energy.
Ahead of Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia next month, Cronhome said there was “no promise in advance” that the Saudis would increase energy production.
The energy sector fears that the year 2020, when it invested heavily in freaking and refining, will repeat itself as demand evaporates. Many American energy companies have gone bankrupt, and access to Wall Street money has evaporated.
Despite rising petrol prices and oil and natural gas prices, the energy sector is very cautious about expanding at this time. It is also known that regulations and consumer demand will force people to invest in clean energy projects. Meanwhile, others are looking for an opportunity abroad, where energy prices are higher than in the United States and capacity is still restricted as Russia seeks to move beyond oil and gas to Europe.
In Washington, Massachusetts sen. The Progressive Democrats, led by Elizabeth Warren, have called for a sudden profit tax on energy companies that will help Americans offset rising fuel prices. But he is well aware that Biden will be rejected by the oil companies as his chances of passing Congress are slim.
CNN’s David Goldman and Kate Sullivan contributed to the report.