US President Joe Biden repeated on Monday demands for oil companies to charge less for petrol at the pumps in a clear sign that while they have come down from the highs seen this summer, US gasoline prices are still weighing on him.
As the US is heading into the mid-term elections in November, the US gas prices risk emerging again as a political issue although there are signs that they’re bottoming out after they rose slightly last week.
Speaking at a meeting of the White House Competition Council, Biden noted that although the price of oil went down worldwide last month, that hasn’t brought down prices at the pumps, making record profits – billions of dollars in profit – for the oil and gas companies.
According to American Automobile Association data, US oil futures fell 9.2% in August when the gasoline prices were also down, dipping 9.2%, but prices across the country remain uneven, as Biden noted, pointing out that they are substantially higher in western states due to a lack of refining capacity.
He now demanded that the prices charged by the companies running gas stations and setting those prices go down immediately to reflect the cost those companies pay for the product.
Biden basically reiterated comments he made earlier this year when average US gasoline prices hit more than $5 per gallon in June, resulting in considerable efforts from the White House to reverse the trend, including by asking Saudi Arabia for additional production and releasing massive amounts of petroleum stockpiled in national reserves.
Amid the speculations about the effects of a global economic slowdown and the impact of China’s Covid-19 lockdown, the decline in international oil prices has helped gasoline prices to fall since that peak by more than $1 dollar on average.