Biden, a few days before the appointment, accuses oil companies of “war profiteering” on gas prices
President Joe Biden, a little more than a week before Election Day, presented something of an ultimatum to gas and oil companies: increase production or pay a higher tax rate.
“It’s time for these companies to stop war profiteering, meet their responsibilities to this country, give the American people a break and continue to do very well,” Biden said as he spoke from the White House on Monday afternoon along with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Energy. secretary Jennifer Granholm.
Biden has threatened to impose higher taxes on excess profits and other restrictions if companies do not increase production and refining capacity to lower prices at the pump.
“My team will work with Congress to consider these options that are available to us and others,” he said. Congress is currently on recess, as lawmakers return home to campaign and advocate for their preferred candidates ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
Oil companies have made staggering profits while Americans pay higher energy prices.
ExxonMobil last week said it posted its best-ever third-quarter earnings, with net income of $19.7 billion. Chevron reported a profit of $11 billion, while Shell posted a profit of $9.5 billion.
“I think the profits are so high it’s hard to believe,” Biden said, accusing companies of returning profits to shareholders and buying back their stock.
“Give me some, that’s enough,” Biden added.
As of Monday, the national average for a gallon of gas was $3.76, according to the American Automobile Association. That’s 30 cents more than the price of gas a year ago.
If oil companies pass on their excess profits to consumers, Biden said the price of gas would drop by 50 cents.
Higher energy prices also affect producers, and those costs are often passed on to consumers by raising the prices of food, clothing, furniture and more. Inflation is at a level not seen in decades, with the consumer price index rising 0.4% in September and overall consumer prices up 8.2% over the past 12 months.
Nearly half of Americans say the economy (26%) or inflation (23%) is the most important issue this midterm cycle, according to a new survey conducted by ABC News and Ipsos.
Republicans have used high prices in their midterm messaging, blaming inflation on Democratic policies and spending packages. An ABC News/Ipsos poll found that nearly three out of four Republicans cite two economic problems as a priority.
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