President Biden may resort to using emergency powers if American oil companies don't increase output at their refineries, the president told oil CEOs in a series of letters Wednesday.
Biden's statement blames oil companies for running "historically high profit margins" even as Americans experience surging gas prices. Biden has recently faced criticism for a lack of executive action aimed at curbing inflation.
"There is no question that Vladimir Putin is principally responsible for the intense financial pain the American people and their families are bearing," Biden wrote. "But amid a war that has raised gasoline prices more than $1.70 per gallon, historically high refinery profit margins are worsening that pain."
"Your companies and others have an opportunity to take immediate actions to increase the supply of gasoline, diesel and other refined product you are producing," he continued. "My administration is prepared to use all reasonable and appropriate Federal Government tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and output in the near term, and to ensure that every region of this country is appropriately supplied."
Biden sent letters to Marathon Petroleum Corp, Valero Energy Corp, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Chevron, BP and Shell.
|VLO||VALERO ENERGY CORP.||128.64||-4.98||-3.73%|
|MPC||MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP.||141.89||-5.30||-3.60%|
|XOM||EXXON MOBIL CORP.||111.47||-4.30||-3.71%|
The letters represent Biden's latest attempt to use executive action to curb inflationary pressure. Inflation currently sits at a 40-year high of 8.6% and shows no signs of slowing down.
The letters come one day after Biden ordered the sale of another 45 million barrels of crude oil from the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserve.
Biden's letter does not offer a timeline for when his administration would resort to emergency powers, threatening only to do so in the "near term."
The oil companies have yet to publish a response to Biden's letter Wednesday.