White House steps up calls for gas station owners to cut profits

The White House on Tuesday defended itself against criticism from billionaire Jeff Bezos over President Biden’s rants against gas companies for making profits in “time of war and global peril.”

“We completely disagree with Jeff Bezos,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. “We will continue to engage everyone in this distribution chain…from oil companies to refineries, distributors and retailers to pass on their reduced costs to consumers.”

Mr. Biden blasted gas stations on Twitter on Saturday as Americans hit the road for the weekend amid soaring gas prices that the White House has, for months, been mulling over. hard to take control.

“My message to companies that run gas stations and set prices at the pump is simple: We are in a time of war and global peril,” Biden wrote.

“Reduce the price you charge at the pump to reflect the cost you pay for the product,” he said. “And do it now.”

Amid the chorus of disdain on Twitter, Mr Bezos’ response stood out.

“Inflation is far too big an issue for the White House to continue making statements like this,” Bezos wrote in response to the president’s message. “This is either a direct misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.”

Oil companies say they are operating near full refining capacity, after demand plummeted during the pandemic. Republican lawmakers say Mr. Biden has exacerbated the problem with policies that discourage domestic oil production.

Mr Biden’s criticism of petrol station owners builds on his feud with oil giants which he has accused of adding to the pain of high petrol prices by boosting refinery profits , as American families break the bank to stock up.

Last month, the president became mired in a tense back-and-forth with Chevron Chairman and CEO Mike Wirth, who accused Mr Biden of trying to ‘vilify’ the fossil fuel industry .

On Tuesday, Jean-Pierre backed the president’s assessment that gas station companies were ripping off American families at the pumps, noting only a nominal drop in retail gasoline prices relative to crude oil prices and wholesale.

“Meanwhile, these same retailers are taking advantage of it, their profits are up about 40 cents, almost 40 cents over the same period,” she said before doubling down on the president’s calls to gas stations to reduce their profits.

“What the president is saying is everyone along this chain, along this production line, needs to make sure they’re doing their part to reduce costs for the American people,” he said. she declared. “That’s what we’re asking for. Consumers should not be the first to pay and the last to benefit.

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