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Friday, December 09, 2022

Biden accuses oil companies of “speculating at war”

President Joe Biden on Monday accused oil companies of “war profiteering” and raised the possibility of a windfall tax if domestic production does not increase.

In brief remarks, the president criticized oil companies for making record profits while refusing to help the American people get cheaper fuel. The president indicated that he would ask Congress to impose tax penalties on oil companies if they do not start investing part of their profits in reducing costs for the nation’s consumers. Biden issued the warning a few days before the November 8 midterm election.

“My team will work with Congress to examine these options that are available to us and others,” the president said. “The time has come for these companies to stop profiting from the war, fulfill their responsibilities in this country, and give relief to the American people, and still make great profits.”

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US President Joe Biden waves before boarding Air Force One at New Castle Air National Guard Base, Del., Monday, October 31, 2022. Manuel Balse Seneta Associated Press

Biden in particular criticized one company, ExxonMobil, which reported a $19.7 billion profit in the third quarter alone. He denounced the Irving, Texas-based company for using its record profits to provide shareholders with huge dividends and share buybacks, but not for investing in production improvements that would benefit consumers. Another oil company, Chevron, posted a profit of $11.23 billion in the third quarter, close to its record profit in the previous quarter.

In the past two quarters, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips and TotalEnergy generated profits of more than $100 billion, up from last year.

“Oil companies’ record profits today aren’t because they’ve done something new or innovative,” Biden said. “Their windfall is the result of the war, the windfall gains from the raging conflict in Ukraine and affecting millions of people around the world.”

Higher prices at gas stations have exacerbated inflation and dented Biden and Democrats’ image with voters.

Congress would have to pass any additional taxes on energy producers, which may be a difficult task to accomplish in the current legislature in which Democrats control the House and Senate, and even more difficult if Republicans hold one or both on November 8. Take the cells back.

Americans have had to pay painfully high gas prices in recent months: The national average for a gallon of regular gas ($1.26 per liter) is more than $4.80 in early July, according to the AAA. They have since fallen to $3.76 a gallon (about $1 a liter), but the White House says they should be lower, given the fall in global oil prices over the same period.

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Associated Press writer Matthew Daly contributed to this report.

This story is basically . was published on October 31, 2022 at 1:18 pm.

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