Biden to support federal gas tax holiday as criticism of the oil industry mounts amid rising prices

After comments about authorizing Covid-19 vaccines for children under 5, Biden was asked about a letter from the CEO of Chevron, which accused the president of trying to defame oil and gas producers as Americans struggle to fill their tanks and o The White House faces increasing political pressure.

Biden responded, “He’s mildly sensitive,” adding, “I didn’t know they would hurt his feelings so quickly.”

The president has increased pressure on oil and gas companies in recent weeks as gas prices have soared, with the national average rising above $5 a gallon at one point last week. Biden and his team have acknowledged in recent weeks that there is not much he can do to deal with rising prices, and the actions he has taken so far, such as a record release of oil from the country’s strategic reserves, have not worked. . Still, the president is considering other options and is expected to announce support for a federal gas tax holiday on Wednesday, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Biden has made Russia’s war in Ukraine his main scapegoat for raising gas prices, but he has also criticized oil and gas companies, saying they are not doing enough to cut costs and accusing them of profiting from the war. He repeated some of those arguments on Tuesday, saying the country needs “more refining capacity”.

“This idea that they don’t have oil to drill and bring in is just not true,” he said. “This part of the Republicans talking about ‘Biden closed fields’ is wrong. We should be able to work on something where they are able to increase refining capacity and still not give up on transitioning to renewable energy. Both are within the realm. of possibility.”

In response to the president’s criticism, the oil industry has largely said that it is the Biden administration’s fault that prices are so high because of what they perceive as limits to domestic oil and gas production.

Chevron CEO Mike Worth said in his letter on Tuesday that Biden should stop criticizing the oil and gas industry and called for a “change in approach” from the White House.

“Your government has sought to criticize and at times defame our industry,” Worth wrote in an open letter to Biden. “These actions are not beneficial in addressing the challenges we face and are not what the American people deserve.”

Worth argued that the industry needs “the cooperation and support of your government to get our country back on a path to greater energy security, economic prosperity and environmental protection.”

The letter was a response to a letter Biden had sent to major oil refiners urging them to increase production. In that letter, the president told oil companies to take “immediate action” to increase supply, telling them that “historically high” profit margins are unacceptable at a time when Americans continue to see rising prices at the pump. Gasoline.
There have also been other White House attacks on the oil and gas industry. Earlier this month, a White House official sharply criticized oil majors for bankrolling huge profits after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the government blamed for rising gas prices, telling CNN it was “outrageous that oil companies and gas were able to take advantage and make four times the profits they did when there was no war.”
Oil executives will meet at the White House this week to meet with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, but the president said he will not attend the meeting.

The Department of Energy invited representatives from Marathon Petroleum, Valero Energy, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Chevron, BP and Shell to discuss high gas prices. Granholm said Sunday on CNN that the group would talk about refining capacity in the country.

Biden to support national gas tax holiday

Biden’s decision to launch his administration’s support for a national gas tax holiday – which would require congressional action – breathes new life into an issue that has failed to gain traction on Capitol Hill so far.

White House officials were weighing support for the proposal, which would lift the 18.3 cents-per-gallon tax on gas. But obstacles on Capitol Hill, including a cool reception from top Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and concerns about the measure’s political effect have largely shifted the idea to the back burner in recent months.

As gasoline prices continue to rise, however, government officials struggle to find policy options that address the pain at the pump — or show support for action.

Biden, speaking to reporters on Tuesday, appeared to lean toward the idea when he noted that a gas tax break would only have a minor impact on road financing – a key policy concern.

“It will have some impact, but it will not have an impact on major road construction and major road repairs,” he said, citing the large infrastructure package passed last year.

The president reiterated that he plans to make a decision this week. “I’m in a lawsuit and will have a decision before the end of the week,” he said.

This headline and story were updated with additional developments on Tuesday.

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