Biden to US oil companies: 'Bring down petrol prices now'

Crude prices have fallen in recent weeks on fears of a global economic slowdown

US President Joe Biden at the meeting of the White House Competition Council in Washington. EPA
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US President Joe Biden has repeated demands for oil companies to charge less for petrol at the pumps.

Although US petrol prices have fallen from the highs of this summer, they are clearly still weighing on Mr Biden.

“Last month, the price of oil worldwide is down,” he said at a meeting of the White House Competition Council.

“We haven’t seen the lower prices reflected at the pump, though. Meanwhile, oil and gas companies are still making record profits — billions of dollars in profit.”

US oil futures fell 9.2 per cent in August. Petrol prices during the same month were also down, dipping 9.2 per cent, according to American Automobile Association data.

Still, as Mr Biden noted, petrol prices across the country remain uneven; they are substantially higher in western states due to a lack of refining capacity.

“My message is simple,” Mr Biden said. “To the companies running gas stations and setting those prices at the pump: bring down the prices you’re charging at the pump to reflect the cost you pay for the product. Do it now.”

Mr Biden’s words echo comments he made earlier this year as average US petrol prices surged, hitting more than $5 per gallon in June. The White House expended considerable effort trying to reverse the trend, including massive releases of stockpiled petroleum and a diplomatic outreach to Saudi Arabia in search of additional production.

Fuel prices have fallen since that peak by more than $1 on average, helped by the decline in international oil prices amid the impact of China’s Covid-19 lockdown and speculation about the effects of a global economic slowdown.

Updated: September 27, 2022, 6:44 AM
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