- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 28, 2022

President Biden on Wednesday warned oil executives not to use Hurricane Ian as an excuse to “gouge the American people” — a shot across the industry’s bow as Florida braces for the storm.

Mr. Biden, who has suffered in the polls amid persistent inflation under his administration, said the “small, temporary” impact on oil production due to the storm is “no excuse for price increases at the pump.”

“If gas companies try to use this storm to raise prices at the pump, I will ask officials to look into whether price gouging is going on,” he said. “America’s watching. The industry should do the right thing.”

The president said his experts estimated that the storm has affected the production of “only about 190,000 barrels a day” — a figure “less than 2% of the United States’ daily production.”

Prices for regular gasoline have fallen about 25% since hitting a record-high average of $5.01 per gallon in June.

Still, Democrats are bracing for an uphill battle for voters in the upcoming midterm elections as the administration attempts to wrangle soaring costs affecting average Americans.

SEE ALSO: Biden calls Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis to discuss Hurricane Ian after confusion about lack of contact

Mr. Biden‘s latest jab at Big Oil marks a continuation of his feud with industry execs over the summer.

Critics of the administration blamed the spike in part on the president’s focus on green energy initiatives that disincentivized investment in domestic refining capacity.

But amid the spike in gas prices, Mr. Biden accused U.S. oil companies of adding to the pain by boosting profits as American families broke the bank to fill up.

On Wednesday, Mr. Biden doubled down on his criticism.

“They should be moving more quickly now to bring down the price at the pump,” he said. “There’s too much of a delay between the price of a barrel of [oil] being produced and the price of gasoline at the pump.”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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