President Joe Biden delivered another speech about his attempt to reduce the high cost of gas, as prices continue to rise despite his promise to “work like to the devil” to bring them down.
Biden urged oil companies to start producing more oil, threatening to punish them if they do not respond.
The president accused oil companies of “hoarding” federal oil leases, announcing a new “use it or lose it” plan, where he would charge companies more fees if they failed to develop their oil leases on federal land or even take them away.
“[T]hey can put those profits to productive use by producing more oils, restarting idle wells, or producing on sites they are already leasing,” Biden said.
He acknowledged it took “months, not days” to ramp up production, announcing he would release one million barrels of oil per day to help fight shortages in the meantime.
Biden told reporters his efforts could bring down gas prices as much as 35 cents a gallon.
The president tried to appeal to oil executives’ sense of duty, calling it a “moment of patriotism,” as they should serve their customers first over their shareholders.
“I say, ‘Enough.’ Enough of lavishing excessive profits on investors and payouts and buybacks when the American people are watching,” he said.
He urged companies not to take advantage of the oil shortages, which he blamed on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and “Putin’s price hike” after the Russian president escalated his war in Ukraine.
“This is not the time to sit on record profits. It’s time to step up for the good of our country,” he said.
But Biden did not offer any proposals to reduce the regulatory and environmental burdens that oil companies face, which only increase the cost of oil or gas. He also did not announce a plan to fast track or speed up new leases after spending his presidency trying to ban oil leases on federal land altogether.
Instead, the president said, he would “double down” on his clean energy agenda to “speed the transition to a clean energy future.”
“Ultimately, we and the whole world need to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels altogether,” he said.
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