We support our Publishers and Content Creators. You can view this story on their website by CLICKING HERE.
Major U.S. oil refiners will meet with U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Thursday for an emergency discussion about surging fuel prices that virtually all Americans are feeling at the gas pump.
The executives and government officials are meeting with a goal of lowering prices, despite relative hostility from the Biden administration toward the energy sector. The president, and especially Granholm, have spent the entirety of the current administration criticizing Big Oil and making it harder for oil companies to expand and continue to do their jobs.
According to AAA data, average price per gallon of gasoline on Wednesday was $4.96, up 37 cents from just one month ago, and $1.89 from a year ago, when gas prices were already on the rise.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, oil refiners slashed capacity and have been attempting to meet demand ever since, a situation that was not aided by pipeline shutdowns ordered by the Biden administration, and the ongoing sanctions on oil from Russia following its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Refiners, declared the White House, have a “patriotic” obligation to assist with the supply of oil. “We’re going in, in good faith, asking them the question of what can be done. What do you need to open up additional refining capacity?” said Granholm prior to the meeting, which will include executives from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Marathon, and Phillips 66.
John Hess, CEO of oil producer Hess Corp, which does not operate refineries, said on Thursday, “I think this is more political fanfare than it is about policy and substance.” Hess was not invited to the meeting.
Refiners are currently saying that the administration’s generally negative attitude toward their industry makes the prospect of reinvesting in plants inherently financially risky. Executives will also suggest eliminating some summertime fuel specifications aimed at reducing smog and requiring union labor for shipping operations. They will also ask the administration not to band exports of U.S. energy, arguing it will hurt allies and force American refiners to further shut down capacity.
The Democratic president recently called on Congress to implement a three-month gas tax holiday, which would save Americans roughly 18 cents per gallon over the course of the summer months.