NATIONAL NEWS

Biden, Chevron chief trade sharp words over gas prices

Jun 21, 2022, 6:50 PM | Updated: Jun 25, 2022, 8:53 pm
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about Covid-19 vaccines for children, in the Roosevelt Room of the ...
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about Covid-19 vaccines for children, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House June 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Covid-19 vaccines for children under 5 years old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signed off on the decision over the weekend and children can start getting the shots beginning this week. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a pointed back and forth, the head of Chevron complained Tuesday that President Joe Biden has vilified energy firms at a time when gasoline prices are at near record levels and the president responded that the oil company CEO was being “mildly sensitive.”

The president in recent weeks has criticized oil producers and refiners for maximizing profits and making “more money than God,” rather than increasing production in response to higher prices as the economy recovers from the pandemic and feels the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Michael Wirth, chairman and CEO of Chevron, sent Biden a letter via email on Tuesday that said the president’s own words have been self-defeating in terms of encouraging companies to boost their output.

Chevron is investing in more production, Wirth wrote, but “your Administration has largely sought to criticize, and at times vilify, our industry. These actions are not beneficial to meeting the challenges we face and are not what the American people deserve.”

The oil company CEO said he wanted a more cooperative relationship with the government.

“Let’s work together,” Wirth wrote. “The American people rightly expect our country’s leaders and industry to address the challenges they are facing in a serious and resolute manner.”

Asked about those comments, Biden displayed no sympathy.

“He’s mildly sensitive,” Biden said. “I didn’t know they’d get their feelings hurt that quickly. Look, we need more refining capacity. This idea that they don’t have oil to drill and to bring up is simply not true.”

Average gas prices are nearly $5 a gallon nationwide, a strain on commuters and a political albatross for Biden’s fellow Democrats going into the midterm elections. That has left the White House scrambling for solutions, including a possible suspension of the 18.4 cents a gallon federal gas tax .Biden plans to decide by the end of the week if the tax should be suspended, a move meant to relieve price pressures and that would need approval from a reluctant Congress.

The gas tax funds highways, but Biden said Tuesday any lost revenue would not have a major impact on road construction because of last year’s $1 trillion infrastructure law.

The clash between the Biden administration and oil producers and refiners unfolded ahead of a Thursday meeting that Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will hold with energy companies.

Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have previously voiced skepticism about the benefits of suspending the gas tax. But Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is sponsoring a bill that would put the gas tax on hold through the end of 2023.

Schiff said in a statement that he has been in touch with the White House to encourage the gas tax holiday, adding, “But we shouldn’t stop there. We should also hold Big Oil accountable for the price-gouging that is driving prices up in the first place.”

The House has approved legislation to crack down on alleged price gouging by oil companies, but the bill has stalled in the Senate. Democratic proposals to impose a “windfall profits” tax on oil producers have generated little support in Congress.

The possibility of a gas tax holiday has drawn criticism from economists and the business community for not fixing the underlying supply challenges.

In an address Tuesday at the Economic Club of New York, a non-profit, non-partisan business group, Target CEO Brian Cornell called the gas tax holiday a temporary “mini stimulus” that does nothing to fundamentally change the supply and demand curve for fuel and transportation.

“We have a classic supply-and-demand challenge,” Cornell told the audience. ”In all due respect, the gas holiday is only going to fuel demand. It’s doing nothing to increase the supply.”

Harvard University professor Jason Furman, formerly the top economist in the Obama White House, said a gas tax suspension would not address the supply pressures.

“Refineries are even more constrained now so supply is nearly fully inelastic,” he wrote on Twitter. “Most of the 18.4 cent reduction would be pocketed by industry — with maybe a few cents passed on to consumers.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the administration is looking into as many ways as possible to provide consumers with some relief at the gas pump. But the administration does not plan to tell Americans to drive less during the July 4 holiday and reduce some of the supply pressures.

“Americans are going to do what they feel is right for themselves and for their family,” Jean-Pierre said. “That’s not something for us to make a judgment on.”

___

AP reporters Matthew Daly in Washington and Anne D’Innocenzio in New York contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Taylor Goodridge...
Tyler Kingkade, NBC News

Utah boarding school ignored teen’s sickness complaints before she died, ex-staff say

A Native American teenager who died while attending a Utah boarding school for at-risk youth had been sick in the weeks beforehand, but staff had been trained to assume students would lie about being ill and did not try to bring her to the hospital until the day she died, former staff members said in interviews. 
21 hours ago
Bed Bath And Beyond is in financial trouble...
Paul R. La Monica and Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN

Bed Bath & Beyond says it can no longer pay its debts

(CNN) — The end could be near for struggling retailer Bed Bath & Beyond, as it warned in a regulatory filing Thursday that it received a notice of default from its lender, JPMorgan Chase. Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) plunged more than 20% on the news, to about $2.56 a share. The company […]
21 hours ago
The rotation of Earth's core may have paused, scientists in China have suggested. (Adobe Stock via ...
Lianne Kolirin

Earth’s inner core may have stopped turning and could go into reverse, study suggests

The rotation of Earth's inner core may have paused and it could even go into reverse, new research suggests.
21 hours ago
A worker rings up a customer at a cash register in a Walmart store on January 24, 2023 in Miami, Fl...
Paul Wiseman, Associated Press

US economy slowed but still grew at 2.9% rate last quarter

The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annual pace from October through December, ending 2022 with momentum despite the pressure of high interest rates and widespread fears of a looming recession.
21 hours ago
Chunli Zhao appears for his arraignment at San Mateo Superior court in Redwood City, Calif., on Wed...
Olga R. Rodriguez and Jocelyn Gecker, Associated Press

Suspect in Half Moon Bay farm killings faces 7 murder counts

A farmworker accused of killing seven people in shootings at two Northern California mushroom farms has been charged with seven counts of murder.
21 hours ago
In an aerial view, San Francisco police officers and F.B.I. agents gather in front of the home of U...
Adam Beam, Associated Press

California judge orders release of footage of Pelosi attack

Footage of the attack on former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband will be released publicly.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Biden, Chevron chief trade sharp words over gas prices