Energy industry executives are applauding President Biden for threatening higher taxes on oil companies if they don’t lower prices at the pump.
The industry lobby, the American Petroleum Institute, described the confirmation of Mr.
“He repeated the same words he’s said before and came up with a policy proposal that will do the opposite of what will help families and businesses in this country,” API President and CEO Mike Sommers told reporters Tuesday. “This has become a trend: management takes credit for every cent drop in fuel prices, but when prices go the other way, the finger-pointing starts.”
Chevron CEO Mike Wirth offered a similar warning about the president’s talk of restricting production, saying an income tax or export ban “would be short-sighted.”
“Usually, if you want something small, you tax it,” he told Bloomberg TV.
The quarterly profits of the world’s largest oil companies continued to rise in the most recent three months ending in September. Shell and ExxonMobil, for example, each made $9.5 billion and $18.7 billion in profits, respectively.
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In Monday’s speech, Mr. Biden asked the energy industry to stop “making war profits” or “they will pay higher taxes on their profits.”
Mr Biden, as he has done since Russia invaded Ukraine, accused the energy companies of shelling out the war and advocated for large portions of their profits to be taxed by the government to force pump prices down.
“Today’s record profits are not because they are doing something new or innovative. Profit is the spirit of war. The wind from the brutal war that is ravaging Ukraine and harming tens of millions of people around the world,” he said. “You know, in a time of war, any company that gets historic profits like this has a responsibility to act beyond the egos of its managers and shareholders.”
While the war – combined with continued oil demand – has helped keep fuel prices high, oil companies are not setting prices at the pump. Oil market prices, a major contributor to gasoline prices, remained high as of Tuesday around $90 a barrel with the average price for a gallon of regular gas at $3.76, according to AAA.
Mr. Sommers said he hopes a Republican takeover of at least one chamber of Congress will mean pro-fossil fuel legislation is passed.
“Republicans plan to make energy a priority, based on the plans they’ve made,” he said. “There could be a real opportunity, if there’s a Republican administration in one of the chambers, for us to get a bipartisan energy policy.”