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The White House is now setting its sights on the refining industry as its frustration over high fuel costs grows. In a letter to multiple refiners and integrated oil companies, President Joe Biden said high refinery profit margins were exacerbating the high prices at the pump for consumers. “At a time of war, refinery profit margins well above normal being passed directly onto American families are not acceptable,” said Biden. The president's letter called for an increase in fuel supplies — something that’s likely difficult or unappealing for the refining industry to execute, particularly on a timeline that would bring near-term relief to consumers. The White House indicated it was willing to use emergency powers — including the Defense Production Act — to increase supply. But it did not get into any specifics, and it’s not clear how the defense law would ease the path for restarting shuttered refineries. Biden's letter — which was sent to executives at Marathon Petroleum, Valero Energy, Exxon Mobil, Phillips 66, Chevron, BP and Shell — comes less than a week after Biden hit out at Exxon for making “more money than God." With political frustrations running high, policymakers in Congress and the White House are looking at a windfall profits tax, although the White House has so far stopped short of publicly endorsing the idea.

Policy and Regulation, Oil Products, Refining
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