WASHINGTON–President Biden continues to blame oil and gas producers for rising gas prices. Leaders in the oil and gas industry are fed up with his remarks.
“Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product,” said Biden on Twitter on July 2. The U.S. Oil & Gas Association responded by saying “make sure the White House intern who posted this tweet registers for Econ 101.” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos joined in and suggested the White House has a “misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.”
A member of Biden’s administration, Transportation Secretary and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, believes Americans are being taken advantage of.
“When it comes to these sky-high gas prices, drivers are mad about it. I’m mad about it. The President is mad about it. Oil company executives are thrilled because this is good news for them. Why are they sitting on these opportunities to produce right now? It’s because this environment where they’re extremely profitable and the rest of us are getting killed is actually really good for their bottom line,” said Buttigieg in an interview on Fox’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on Tuesday.
Paul Hardin, who heads the Texas Food and Fuel Association, says they’re actually only making pennies per gallon.
“Not only are gas stations making less margin on fuel right now, but people are spending so much at the pump that they don’t want to go inside. If they do, they aren’t spending as much. Economically it doesn’t make any sense for the President to come out and say, ‘Hey, why don’t you lose money on the main product you’re selling?’, said Hardin.
Industry experts have pointed out that 60% of gas stations are run by small business owners who are bearing the brunt of the cost and don’t have relief to pass on to the consumer. They also criticize President Biden for pausing some federal oil drilling permits at the start of his administration.
“Mr. Buttigeg needs an understanding of economics. Heck, seems he’s not the only one in this administration that needs to brush up on it. Production HAS gone up. Stop using the same talking points, and actually comprehend what you’re saying!,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, on Twitter Wednesday morning.
Back in June, DeHaan said something similar.
“Buttigieg’s comments would be better served by finding out why we can’t increase refining capacity and what the Biden administration should do about it. We’ve seen refineries shut down in the last few years and part of that was because of COVID, but with the administration’s policies, the last thing I think would ever happen is that a refinery would be built. The Secretary can say whatever he pleases, but that doesn’t mean it’s reality,” said DeHaan.
DeHaan says the need for more refineries and refinery capacity has never been greater, but those don’t just get built overnight.
“A location is key. You have to be close to pipelines and infrastructure, but there has been no significant refinery built in about 50 years and I’m sure it’s not going to happen now. We’ve seen a couple of teapot refineries that are small. The fact of the matter is that his administration would probably block any new refinery that was being built. Also, the transition away from fossil fuels would bode poorly for any investment being made. I think it’s like sticking fingers in your eyes to say refineries aren’t stepping up. They are running close to full tilt,” said DeHaan.