In a letter filled with ominous but vague threats, and blunt accusations, Biden warned executives at Shell, Chevron, BP, and four other oil companies it is “not acceptable” for their profit margins to be “well above normal” while Americans suffer.
The average price for a gallon of regular gas passed $5 on June 13, a first for the U.S., after averaging $3.08 this time last year, The New York Post reported, citing figures from AAA.
The average price for a gallon of gas has been increasing every month since Biden took office, now 1 1/2 years ago, but the same White House that has literally praised rising gas prices shifted to blaming Russia’s president and, more recently, the major oil companies.
Writing at Forbes, in a May 13 commentary, energy analyst Robert Rapier said oil prices were rising slowly in the final months of the Trump administration, too. But the analyst says Biden is responsible for the biggest jump of all when he stopped importing Russian oil to punish it for attacking Ukraine.
“You may believe that banning Russian oil was the right move, but it does impact gasoline prices,” Rapier writes. “It is arguably the first decision President Biden has made that had an immediate, short-term impact.”
In the threatening letter, the White House warned Big Oil the federal government 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.”
What the White House means by “reasonable and appropriate” tools, and by emergency authority, is left up to the oil companies and to the public to guess. Biden this week hinted, however, he is not at fault.
“I don’t want to hear any more of these lies about reckless spending,” Biden, referring to economy-wrecking inflation, angrily shouted to AFL-CIO members this week. “We’re changing people’s lives!”
Reacting to President Biden’s letter, H. Sterling Burnett of the Heartland Institute says the president “created every one of the problems that he is now blaming oil companies for.”
It was not the oil companies that ended leases for oil and gas exploration, or stopped pipelines from being constructed, Burnett says, referring to the Biden administration’s up-front plan to punish those industries in the first hours he came into office.
“Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,” is the long-winded name of the January 20, 2020 order Biden signed on his first day in the Oval Office. That order stopped the permit for expanding the Keystone XL pipeline.
In that same month the Biden administration suspended gas and oil leases and permits for a 60-day review, then Biden signed another executive order entitled “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” That order declared climate change an “essential element” of U.S. foreign policy and national security, and it set up a federal bureaucracy of new federal offices, agencies, working groups, subgroups, and councils to produce reports, strategies, recommendations, and assessments.
At the time of that executive order, a gallon of regular gasoline averaged $2.53 in the U.S.
Responding to the threatening letter, the American Petroleum Institute released a statement that said in part the group welcomes the “opportunity” for “increased dialogue” with the White House but blamed it for a “misguided policy agenda” that shifted domestic oil and natural gas production.