Biden Calls on American Oil Industry to Increase Production

US President Joe Biden says he is prepared to “use all tools at his disposal” to get American oil producers to do more to lower the cost of oil.

In a letter to the CEOs of seven major oil producers, President Joe Biden urged the companies to take “immediate actions to increase the supply of gasoline, diesel, and other refined products.”

Oil prices have surged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Prices have surpassed $5.00/gallon for the first time ever. The price increase is causing widespread pain for consumers while leading to bumper profits for major oil companies.

In his letter, which he sent to the CEOs of Marathon Petroleum Corp., Valero Energy Corp., ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Chevron, BP, and Shell, Biden noted that there was a large gap between the cost that consumers pay at the pump and the cost to oil companies.

In the letter to Exxon’s CEO Darren Woods, which was obtained by Axios, Biden wrote that the difference “of more than 15% at the pump is the result of the historically high profit margins for refining oil into gasoline, diesel and other refined products. Since the beginning of the year, profits for refining gasoline and diesel have tripled and are currently at their highest levels ever recorded.”

ExxonMobil responded by issuing a statement to say that the company had “been investing more than any other company to develop U.S. oil and gas supplies” over the past 5 years. The company says that it has invested more than $50 billion in the US alone resulting in a production increase of 50% over that same period.  

The US energy department has invited the CEOs to a special meeting in Washington next week to discuss the high prices, according to CNN sources. The invitation was sent out with the letter, according to the sources.