On Thursday, major US oil refiners will meet with US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and other Biden officials in an emergency meeting to discuss how to lower record-high fuel prices that are squeezing American consumers.
The two sides are meeting with the intention of cooperating in good faith, but they appear to be at odds on solutions. The discussion comes at a difficult time for President Joe Biden and Big Oil, as the president has spent the last few weeks criticising its CEOs for profiting handsomely from a fuel supply shortage exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to the American Automobile Association, the average price of gasoline was $4.955 per gallon on Wednesday, up 37 cents from a month ago and $1.89 from a year ago.
Refiners reduced capacity during the COVID-19 crisis shutdowns, but post-pandemic demand and a global fuel crisis as a result of Western nations sanctioning Russian oil have raised prices.
Exxon, Chevron, and other refining behemoths reported massive increases in profits at the end of 2021 and the first quarter of this year, and they intend to lavish shareholders with share buybacks.