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Remarks by President Biden During Economic Briefing on Lowering Gas Prices

Remarks by President Biden During Economic Briefing on Lowering Gas Prices

South Court Auditorium
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

3:18 P.M. EDT

MR. DEESE:  Hey, Mr. President, it’s great to see you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Hey.  How you doing? 

MR. DEESE:  Good.  We’ve got members of your economic and energy team here.  And we’re prepared to start the briefing, but we’ll start by turning the floor over to you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thanks.  Let me start by apologizing — my voice.  I’m feeling much better than I sound. 

You know, we’re meeting today on gas prices, and we have some really good news: Gas prices are coming down. 

In fact, gas prices have fallen every day this summer for 38 days in a row.  Now, you know, you can — you can find gas for $3.99 or less in more than 30,000 gas stations in more than 35 states.  In some cities, it’s down almost a dollar from last month.  We’ve been working really hard to bring the price down.

Four months ago, I gave an order to release 1 million barrels of oil per day — a day — for our nation — from our nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  And I led the world to coordinate the largest release of oil reserves in history, including from other countries.  In total, more than 240 million barrels to boost global supply. 

During that time, I’ve also been working to increase U.S. production.  Today, we’re producing 12 million barrels per day, and we’re on track to hit near-record highs.  I’ve been working to make sure that when the price of oil comes down, the price at the pump comes down as well, and comes down in real time.  The good news is that’s happening, but it’s not happening fast enough.  We’ve made progress, but prices are still too high. 

And so, here’s what I’m going to do — talk about today with all of you.  We need to work on this. 

First, we’re going to look at ways to increase oil production from the existing wells and permits that exist today.  The industry has more approved permits for production on federal lands than they can possibly use.  That’s a fact.  Let me say it again: They have more than they can use. 

So my message to these companies is: Use the permits or lose them.  Don’t say we can’t — you don’t have access.

Second, I’m telling the industry, “You’re making record profits due to Putin’s war in Ukraine.  Use those profits to increase production and refining.  Don’t use those profits to buy back your stocks and dividends.” 

Look, thirdly, we’ll talk about a global price cap on Russian oil — that I got our partners to agree to last month at the G7 — that will keep supply up and Putin’s revenues down.  In the days and weeks ahead, I’m going to keep doing what I can to bring down the price of gas at the pump. 

But the real answer is to get to a clean energy economy as soon as possible; turn this into something positive.  That means cleaner renewable energy, more affordable electric vehicles, and clean energy manufactured here in the United States.  That’s how we’ll protect the climate and create jobs. 

I am — well, I’ll have more to say about this in our discussions and more in the coming days.  But look, I want to stop here and turn it over to you, Brian.  And let’s get this briefing started. 

Thanks.

MR. DEESE:  Great.  Thank you, Mr. President. 

So, we were hoping today to cover three broad areas. 

The first is market developments, both where we are and we thi- — we’re headed.  And I’ll turn in a moment to Chair Rouse on that front. 

The second is developments in the industry and the work that your team has been doing, at your direction, to engage with the industry on refining, on hurricane preparedness, and other issues that Secretary Granholm will update and brief you on. 

And the third, as you mentioned, is on international developments, where, on — on the back of your securing an agreement to explore the price cap coming out of the G7, Secretary Yellen is back from a multi-country trip across Asia, and she and Amos will give you an update on international developments as well.

So with your permission, sir, we’ll now turn it — I’ll turn it over to Chair Rouse to talk about market developments.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Sure.  Cece, I’m anxious to hear you.

CHAIR ROUSE:  Terrific.  So, Mr. President, as you mentioned at the top, Americans are getting some very much badly needed breathing room at the pump.  The national average retail gas price today fell to $4.41.  That’s about 60 cents lower than its mid-June peak.

While this is a national average, it is affected by the traditionally higher prices in western states.  What you see when you look under these data is that more than thir- — in more than 30,000 stations, they’re now selling gas for less than $4.00 a gallon.  In fact, the most common gas station price in America today is $3.99 a gallon.

This kind of decline at this time of year is quite unique.  This is the 38th day in a row of declining retail gas prices.  In fact, the rate of decline is among the fastest in over a decade, a dramatic decline during the peak summer driving season.  In other words, it has been a trend, not a daily blip.

The decline translates into concrete savings for American families.  The typical two-driver family is saving more than $60 a month.  Economy wide, that would mean Americans will spend about $6.5 billion less in a month over the coming month, and that would be real savings.

Looking forward, we expect gas prices to decline further.  However, as you noted, they are still too high.  Refiner margins remain roughly double what is typical for this time of year, though they have declined from their record highs.  Retailer margins are very elevated and are around 50 cents above what is typical. 

What that means is we expect gas prices at the pump to continue to come down.  If the historical relationship between oil and gas prices were to hold, these lower oil prices could translate into an additional 40-cent decline in gas prices if industry passes along cost savings to consumers.  This would bring the national average retail price to around $4.00. 

Of course, energy markets remain highly volatile, and that’s especially true in the current environment with the additional disruption created by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

So oil prices could rise again.  And it is very difficult to reliably predict where these prices will be over the longer term. 

Thank you, Brian.  Thank you.

MR. DEESE:  Thank you, Cece.  We’re going to — I’m going to turn it over to Secretary Granholm, but before we do, we’re going to ask the press to leave.

Q    Sir, how do you feel?  Are you feeling better?

THE PRESIDENT:  (Gives a thumbs up.)

3:24 P.M. EDT

Source: White House

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