US: Government and Refiners Cannot Find Common Way to Reduce Fuel Prices

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The biggest oil refiners in the US and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm came out of an emergency meeting on how to reduce fuel prices without specific solutions but with the promise to continue talking, according to a source familiar with the discussions, Reuters reported.

The two sides entered the meeting with the promise to work together, but are still far from solutions. The debate comes at a tense time for President Joe Biden and the major oil companies. The US president has criticized its executives for making huge profits from a fuel crisis exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Granholm, in a more conciliatory tone, expressed interest in a refinery proposal to waive summer charges on the price of petrol to combat smog but make fuel more expensive, a source said, while also downgrading a proposal to ban or restricting fuel exports as a viable short-term option.

The average price of gasoline was $ 4,955 per gallon on Wednesday, according to the American Automobile Association, 37 cents more than a month ago and $ 1.89 more than a year ago.

Refineries reduced production capacity during the COVID-19 crisis break, but demand after the pandemic and the global fuel crisis following Western sanctions on Russian oil have pushed prices up.

Exxon Mobil, Chevron and other refining giants announced large increases in profits at the end of 2021 and in the first quarter of this year, while they have made their shareholders richer through repurchases and dividend distribution.

The White House has targeted the refining industry’s decision to cut production by about 1 million barrels per day by 2020, arguing that they should use their profits to restart factories or plants and help fill the supply gap. which raises prices.

The refineries have a “patriotic” duty to help with the offer, the White House said.

The meeting was attended by executives from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Marathon and Phillips 66.

“I think it’s more a matter of political fanfare than politics and substance,” said John Hess, chief executive of Hess Corp., at a conference in New York on Thursday. Hess, who does not operate refineries, was not invited to the meeting.

Refiners say investing in the reopening of factories poses significant financial risks. The Biden government has taken power, promising to move the country away from fossil fuels that contribute to climate change and has secured billions of dollars for the electric vehicle industry.

A team of 25 drilling and pipeline industry teams, including the American Petroleum Institute and the American Independent Petroleum Association, sent a letter to Biden on Thursday urging him to visit America’s vast energy resources before traveling to the United States. where the president is expected to encourage the oil-rich country to increase production.

“US-made energy solutions are under our feet and we urge you to reconsider the enormous potential of the US jealousy of US oil and gas resources for the benefit of American families, the US economy and our national security,” she wrote. club.

Industry went to the meeting seeking to persuade the Biden administration not to ban U.S. fuel exports to fight record gas prices. They argue that a ban would hit export-dependent allies and force refineries to shut down due to lost markets.

Biden on Wednesday called on Congress to pass a three-month federal gas tax suspension, but this has met with opposition from his party’s lawmakers, who say it may offer some relief while opening a hole in the Highway budget. Trust Fund financed by the gas tax.

Source: Capital

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