Biden adviser blames high gas prices on Russia and oil companies

Bharat Ramamurti says oil companies aren't using federal permits

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KLKN) – Gas prices have been consistently rising and have already passed record highs.

The White House says it’s because of the war between Russia and Ukraine. It also says oil companies could help reduce costs, but they have an incentive to keep the current status quo.

Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, said the five big oil companies in the U.S. posted $35 billion in profits in the first quarter of this year.  He said that’s four times more than the profits they made in the same time last year.

“These restrictions that are causing prices to go up at the pump, that’s been very, very good for the oil and gas companies,” Ramamurti said. “And they’d have an incentive to hold back a little bit on increasing the supply of oil because they’re doing so well right now.”

He said there are 9,000 permits to drill on federal land, but most are going unused.

Exxon told Reuters last week that it continues to increase oil and gas production.

The company, the largest U.S. oil producer, also said its big profits in the fourth quarter came after it lost $20 billion in 2020.

President Joe Biden has proposed policies aimed at increasing production.

One such policy is called Use it or Lose it. Under that proposal, if oil companies choose to not drill on land there are permits for, the government will find others who will.

Ramamurti said the policy must be passed by Congress.

Categories: Consumer News, News, US & World