WH Press Secretary: ‘We See It as a Patriotic Duty’ for Oil Refiners to Increase Oil Production

(CNSNews.com) – White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday that the Biden administration considers it the “patriotic duty” of oil refiners to produce more oil amid historic spikes in gas prices.

President Biden sent a letter to seven oil refiners on Wednesday saying they need to work with his administration “to bring forward concrete, near-term solutions that address the crisis.”

In addition to “releasing a record 1 billion barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve” and rallying the United States’ partners to release an additional 240 million barrels of oil, the president “expanded access to E-15, which will lower prices at thousands of gas stations,” the press secretary announced that President Biden made clear in a letter to major U.S. oil refiners on Wednesday that they need to step up.

“In a time of global crisis, oil companies should be doing everything they can to expand capacity and lower costs at the pump.  Instead, they are charging record profits at the expense of American families. The last time the price of crude oil was $120 a barrel, the price of gas was425 cents a gallon. Today, it’s about 75 cents higher,” Jean-Pierre said.

She said that oil refiners’ profit margins have tripled since the beginning of the year, and they should be putting those record profits into expanding refining capacity “back to pre-pandemic levels.”


“President Biden is putting a spotlight on this and calling on oil refiners to invest those records — those record profits to increase capacity so cost at the pump could come down. He is signaling that he is prepared to use any emergency tools he has, but these companies have a responsibility to step up too. We are focused on getting to solutions,” the press secretary said.

“In the letter from the president to the oil refinery — the refiners, he said they need to work with the administration to bring about a near-term solution. Is there an ‘or else’ in there from the president? Is there some way that the administration plans to try to hold these companies accountable? You used the word “responsibility” in your message at the top here,” a reporter asked.

JEAN-PIERRE: Right. We see it as a patriotic duty, as we’re — as we are — as we’ve talked about. There’s war happening right now in Ukraine that was caused by — caused by Russia, which is why we’re seeing these hikes in gas prices, especially since — since Russia has amassed — started amassing troops on the border, we saw a — we’ve seen a $2 increase of gas prices.

So, we know where to put the blame: on the war. But oil companies, they have — oil refineries, they have a responsibility too. What they have been doing is taking advantage of the war, and as — as I showed earlier, they have tripled — tripled their — their income, and so, this is a problem, but what we’re trying to do — by putting out the letter, we’re saying, ‘Hey, we need you to act.  It is time to act.’

We want to have a conversation.  We want to come to a solution. There is going to be a conversation later this — this week, I believe, with the Energy Department, and so that’s going to happen.

So this is basically a bit of a ‘Hey, we want — we want you to act. It’s time to act.’ We have done our part with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — the one — the 1 million a day for the next six months, and so we need them to act. So that’s where we are. We want to come to solutions, which is why we say we want to have that conversation, and we will see where it goes from there.

REPORTER: And is there something the president is considering to compel them or a consequence if that does not happen?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — I don’t have anything right now to preview as to what would come — what would come next, but what I will say is that we are — we are calling on them to do the right thing, to be patriots here, and not to use the war as an excuse or as a — as a reason to not put — to not put out a production, not — to not do the capacity that is needed out there so that the prices can — so that the prices can come down.


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