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Jean-Pierre: It’s Oil Companies’ ‘Patriotic Duty’ to Accept Profit Losses

'What they have been doing is taking advantage of the war... '

(Headline USA) The White House argued this week that oil companies have a “patriotic duty” to cut their losses and lower the price of fuel.

In a letter to seven large integrated refinery operators, President Joe Biden said the oil moguls’ profits are “not acceptable” and threatened to use his emergency powers to increase refinery capacity. 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre echoed that sentiment on Wednesday, accusing oil companies of “taking advantage” of the war in Ukraine.

“We see it as a patriotic duty,” Jean-Pierre said.

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“There’s a war happening right now in Ukraine that was caused by Russia, which is why we’re seeing these hikes in gas prices, especially since Russia has started amassing troops on the border, we’ve seen a $2 increase in gas prices.”

Regardless, oil companies should artificially reduce their prices, even if they have to lose money to do so, she argued.

“They have responsibilities too,” she said. “What they have been doing is taking advantage of the war. As I showed earlier, they have tripled their income.”

Jean-Pierre also claimed the White House has done everything it can to lower gas prices on its own.

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“We have done our part with the strategic petroleum reserve releasing 1 million barrels a day for the next six months, and so we need them to act,” she said. “We are calling on them to do the right thing, to be patriots here, and not to use the war as an excuse or a reason to not put out production.”

In response, Exxon Mobile blasted Biden, arguing that high fuel prices are directly the result of his own policies.

“Specific to refining capacity in the U.S., we’ve been investing through the downturn to increase refining capacity to process U.S. light crude by about 250,000 barrels per day—the equivalent of addent a new, medium-sized refinery,” Exxon wrote in the statement.

“We kept investing even during the pandemic, when we lost more than $20 billion and had to borrow more than $30 billion to maintain investment to increase capacity to be ready for post-pandemic demand,” it added.

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