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Biden Hits Back at Chevron CEO Mike Worth Over Gas Prices

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President Joe Biden hit back at Chevron CEO Mike Wirth‘s “sensitive” response to his letter excoriating oil company profits and demanding help reducing gas prices.

Last week, the president sent letters to the heads of seven oil companies — Marathon Petroleum Corp, Valero Energy Corp, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Chevron, BP, and Shell — in which he decried “historically high profit margins” and demanded answers and assistance. Gas prices have been a major driver of the record inflation that has marred an economy that has been recovering from the coronavirus pandemic at a record pace.

Wirth responded with a lengthy letter of his own on Tuesday in which he called for “a change in approach” and complained “your Administration has largely sought to criticize, and at times vilify, our industry. These actions are not beneficial to meeting the challenges we face and are not what the American people deserve.”

Shortly thereafter, President Biden took questions from the press after his remarks about the newly-approved Covid vaccines for children. Asked about Wirth’s complaint, Biden needled the CEO for getting his “feelings hurt,” and called for an approach that balances increasing supply with “transitioning to renewable energy”:

SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER FOR BLOOMBERG NEWS JENNIFER JACOBS: Quick question on the Chevron CEO’s complaint today. He said that your administration has largely criticized the oil and gas industry and at times vilified it, and that the administration needs to take a change in approach in order to make progress on reducing energy prices and to increase supply. Do you have a reaction to that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: He’s mildly sensitive. I didn’t know they’d get their feelings hurt that quickly.

Look, we need more refining capacity. This idea that they don’t have oil to drill and to bring up is simply not true. This piece of the Republicans talking about, “Biden shut down fields” — wrong. There are 9,000 of them, okay?

So they — we ought to be able to work something out whereby they’re able to increase refining capacity and still not give up on transitioning to renewable energy. They’re both within the realm of possibility.

On Wednesday afternoon, Biden will give remarks on his call for a gas tax holiday.

Watch above via The White House.

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