WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a press event this week, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked by a Fox News reporter why the United States doesn’t increase domestic drilling for oil in an attempt to alleviate the ongoing skyrocketing prices of gasoline that are grinding down the wallets of Americans across the country. Her response? “We don’t need to do that.”
With the average price per gallon of gas nationally now at a bank-busting $5.09 and climbing, Jean-Pierre was asked by Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy why the country doesn’t increase oil drilling in order to beef up fuel supplies, as opposed to the current course taken by the Biden Administration involving pressuring oil companies to increase productivity at refineries.
Jean-Pierre claimed that refinery capacity was reduced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that oil companies have yet to ramp up production to the levels they were prior to the pandemic; this factor, in addition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, are what is causing the high prices at the pump.
Doocy proceeded to counter the Press Secretary’s statement, asking her “Why not just drill more here in the U.S., though?”
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Jean-Pierre – who recently laughed off CNN anchor Don Lemon’s concerns over President Biden’s purported declining cognitive abilities – dismissed Doocy’s question regarding increased oil drilling, insisting instead that the White House’s current plan to address gas prices was more than adequate.
“Because we don’t need to do that,” Jean-Pierre responded. “What we need [oil companies] to do is, with the oil that’s out there, we need them to refine that oil so that the capacity can go up and that prices would go down.”
Biden recently sent letters to multiple major oil companies – including Marathon Petroleum Corp, Valero Energy Corp, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Chevron, BP and Shell – threatening to utilize executive actions to increase their gasoline production if the companies refrain from doing so themselves as soon as possible.
“There is no question that Vladimir Putin is principally responsible for the intense financial pain the American people and their families are bearing. But amid a war that has raised gasoline prices more than $1.70 per gallon, historically high refinery profit margins are worsening that pain,” Biden’s letter read, accusing oil companies of taking advantage of U.S. taxpayers in order to increase their income.
“Your companies and others have an opportunity to take immediate actions to increase the supply of gasoline, diesel and other refined product you are producing,” Biden continued. “My administration is prepared to use all reasonable and appropriate Federal Government tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and output in the near term, and to ensure that every region of this country is appropriately supplied.”