icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
1 Nov, 2022 03:01

Biden threatens new tax to end ‘war profiteering’

Record oil industry profits are 'hard to believe,' the US president has said
Biden threatens new tax to end ‘war profiteering’

US President Joe Biden has vowed to impose new taxes to restrain the “excess profits” of American oil companies, insisting they must help lower prices for consumers, while accusing them of reaping undue benefits from the conflict in Ukraine.

The president took the oil industry to task during an address on Monday, speaking alongside Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Treasury head Janet Yellen. He argued that companies have seen “profits so high it’s hard to believe” since fighting erupted in Eastern Europe earlier this year, and must start acting beyond their “narrow self-interest.”

“Oil companies’ record profits today are not because they’re doing something new or innovative. Their profits are a windfall of war – the windfall from the brutal conflict that’s ravaging Ukraine and hurting tens of millions of people around the globe,” he said, adding that they have “a responsibility to act in the interest of their consumers, their community, and their country.”

If they don’t, they’re going to pay a higher tax on their excess profits and face other restrictions. My team will work with Congress to look at these options that are available to us… It’s time for these companies to stop war profiteering.

The president went on to note the significant earnings reported this year by oil giants like Shell and Exxon, with the former company recently announcing $9.5 billion in profit for the third quarter of 2022, almost doubling what it made during the same period last year. Exxon, meanwhile, said it brought in $18.7 billion in profits the last quarter, “nearly triple what Exxon made last year and the most in its 152-year history,” Biden said. “It’s never made that much profit.”

While he did not specify exactly what the new taxes would entail, Biden said companies must “invest in America by increasing production and refining capacity” in order to lower prices for consumers. Prices at the pump have dropped from a recent peak of more than $5 per gallon in June, though the president claimed that was largely due to the White House’s decision to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve earlier this year.

The threat to the oil industry comes a little more than a week ahead of the midterm elections, in which record-high inflation and surging consumer prices have become top issues in many races. The White House has reportedly been weighing options for new taxes on oil and gas companies since last summer, though has apparently not yet worked out any specific legislation with lawmakers.