US President Joe Biden blamed the oil industry on Wednesday for rising fuel prices at the heart of 40 years of high inflation and warned of unspecified emergency measures.
Letters sent to seven major oil companies were Biden’s most direct salvo to date in a campaign blaming the industry for fueling rising prices.
Currently, the average fuel price for US drivers is $ 5 per gallon, up from $ 3 a year ago. This surge has affected the economy as a whole and has helped reduce Biden’s approval rate to less than 40%.
In a letter to executives at Shell, Marathon Oil Company, Valero Energy, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Chevron and BP, Biden said, “Much more than usual refinery profit margins are passed directly to American families. Is unacceptable. “
Biden said the economy is in a “war era,” referring to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent global collapse from sanctions on energy exporter Russia.
“My administration will use all reasonable and appropriate federal tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and production in the short term, and all regions of the country will be adequately supplied. “I’m ready to do that,” Biden said without giving details of any kind of action he could take.
Biden has regularly blamed the oil industry for saying he was unable to increase production using already approved wells.
However, a letter with a graph depicting the increase in producers’ profits showed the escalation of the war of words.
In his letter, he addressed the immediate issues of inventory, price and refining capacity in the coming months, including an explanation of the decline in refining capacity after 2020 and the means of transportation to bring refined products to market. I asked for a concrete idea to do. “”
“The crisis facing the family deserves an immediate response. Your company needs to work with my government to provide a concrete and short-term solution to the crisis.” He wrote.
Biden’s Democrats, in November elections and polls, show that economic concerns are dominant and risk losing parliamentary control and suffering a big defeat.
In a fierce speech on Tuesday, Biden blamed the Republican Party’s obstruction in parliament and Russia’s war in Ukraine for price increases, saying it “has taken away the power of many families.”
The Federal Reserve was planning to raise interest rates again with aggressive efforts to curb inflation, fearing that unintended consequences could be in recession.