The CEO of a top oil company proposed real solutions to help lower gas prices for Americans – which President Joe Biden appeared to have an issue with.
Chevron CEO Michael Wirth said that his company’s mission was to “work every day to help provide the world with the energy it demands and to lift up the lives of billions of people who rely on these supplies.”
Wirth said that Chevron wants to assist the Biden administration in fighting soaring fuel costs, but that the 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,” he wrote.
“We need clarity and consistency on policy matters ranging from leases and permits on federal lands, to the ability to permit and build critical infrastructure, to the proper role of regulation that considers both costs and benefits. Many of these elements are described in our industry’s recently released 10-point plan.”
Biden responded to Wirth’s remarks by mocking him, saying that “he’s mildly sensitive.”
“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.”
The president said oil companies needed to “work something out” so they could refine more gasoline and transition to clean energy at the same time.
“They’re both within the realm of possibility,” he said.
Biden further indicated he was seriously considering a gas tax holiday, explaining he was not concerned about temporarily cutting funds from federal infrastructure spending.
“It’s not like before,” he said, noting that he had just passed $1.2 trillion in spending on infrastructure.
“Look it will have some impact, but it’s not going to have an impact on major road construction and major repairs,” he said.
Biden and the oil industry leaders have traded barbs recently after the president issued a letter threatening to use war-time powers against the companies – blaming them for the high gas prices in America.
“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 in his letter. “But amid a war that has raised gasoline prices more than $1.70 per gallon, historically high refinery profit margins are worsening that pain.”
Biden announced in the letter that he had ordered his Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, to meet with oil companies in the future.
“In advance of that, I request that you provide concrete ideas that would address the immediate inventory, price, and refining capacity issues in the coming months — including transportation measures to get refined product to market,” he wrote.
Granholm, for her part, has used the record-high gas prices to push a transition to clean energy – echoing the sentiments of President Biden who in the past, vowed to “end fossil fuels.”
In response to Biden’s letter, ExxonMobil said that the Biden administration could easily stimulate more oil production through “predictable lease sales, as well as streamlined regulatory approval and support for infrastructure such as pipelines.”