Biden's fight with oil companies over high gas prices

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

President Biden.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

President Biden on Wednesday sent a letter to leading oil refiners calling for them to produce more gasoline and dial back record profits to help bring down fuel prices, which have been soaring since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Biden said oil companies' profits have tripled since the war triggered sanctions against Russian oil and disrupted global supply. "The crunch that families are facing deserves immediate action," Biden wrote. "Your companies need to work with my administration to bring forward concrete, near-term solutions that address the crisis."

Just days earlier, the national average climbed above $5 per gallon, adding to broader concerns about high inflation. The Commerce Department reported Friday that consumer prices had risen 8.6 percent in May, compared to a year earlier, marking the worst inflation in four decades. Biden noted that gas prices were 75 cents per gallon lower last year when oil prices were roughly the same as they are today, around $120 per barrel, and he put part of the blame on refiners' high profits. The American Petroleum Institute responded with a statement saying U.S. refinery capacity has fallen as the Biden administration pushed to reduce fossil-fuel use as part of its effort to fight climate change. Is Biden right to scold oil executives for the pain Americans are feeling at the pump?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.