After comments on the approval of Covid-19 vaccines for children under 5, Biden was asked about a letter from Chevron’s CEO accusing the president of trying to vilify oil and gas producers while Americans fight to to fill their tanks and The White House is facing increasing political pressure.
Biden replied, “He’s mildly touchy,” adding, “I didn’t know they would hurt her feelings so easily.”
Biden has made Russia’s war in Ukraine his main scapegoat for rising gas prices, but has also called out oil and gas companies who said they weren’t doing enough to cut costs, accusing them of profiting from the war. He repeated some of those arguments Tuesday, saying the country needs “more refining capacity.”
“This notion that they don’t have oil to drill and produce is just not true,” he said. “That part of Republicans talking about ‘Biden set aside fields’ is wrong. We should be able to work something out that will enable them to increase refining capacity and still not abandon the transition to renewable energy. They’re both within the realm of possibility.”
In response to the president’s criticism, the oil industry has largely said it’s the Biden administration’s fault that prices are so high because they perceive domestic oil and gas production as limited.
“Your administration has largely sought to criticize, and sometimes denigrate, our industry,” Worth wrote in an open letter to Biden. “These actions are not beneficial to addressing the challenges we face and are not what the American people deserve.”
Worth argued that the industry “needs your government’s cooperation and support as our country returns to a path of greater energy security, economic prosperity and environmental protection.”
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 on CNN on Sunday that the group would discuss refining capacity in the country.
Biden expected to support the national gas tax holiday
Biden’s decision to throw his administration’s support behind a national gas tax holiday — which would require action from Congress — breathes new life into an issue that hasn’t gained prominence on Capitol Hill until now.
White House officials had weighed support for the proposal that would suspend the 18.3 cents per gallon tax on gasoline. But hurdles on Capitol Hill, including a cool reception from key Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and concerns about the move’s political implications have largely eclipsed the idea in recent months.
But as gas prices continue to rise, government officials have scramble to find policy options that would address the pain at the pump – or demonstrate support for action.
Biden, speaking to reporters on Tuesday, appeared to be turning to the idea after noting that a pause in the gas tax would have little impact on road funding — a key policy concern.
“It will have some impact, but it will not impact major road construction and major road repairs,” he said, citing the major infrastructure package passed last year.
The President reiterated that he plans to make a decision this week. “I’m in a process and I’ll make a decision before the week is out,” he said.
This headline and story were updated Tuesday with additional developments.