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Bezos Speaks Out Against Biden’s Anti-Oil Rhetoric

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has taken a swipe at President Biden after the latter lashed out at fuel retailers, blaming them for high prices at the pump and calling on them to reduce prices.

The President’s tweet, released during the weekend, prompted a lot of reactions, not all of them favorable.

“My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril,” Biden wrote. “Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now.”

This follows accusations of profiteering aimed at oil supermajors such as Exxon, Chevron, and Conoco, which Biden urged last month to focus on more production rather than returning cash to shareholders.

In response to Biden’s tweet about the companies running gas stations, Bezos wrote, “Ouch. Inflation is far too important a problem for the White House to keep making statements like this. It’s either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.”

This prompted a response by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who wrote, also on Twitter, that “Oil prices have dropped by about $15 over the past month, but prices at the pump have barely come down. That’s not ‘basic market dynamics.’ It’s a market that is failing the American consumer.”

The lack of complete synchrony between crude oil prices and retail fuel prices has baffled the White House ever since the latest oil rally began last year. Biden administration officials—and legislators—have tried to blame high prices at the pump on the U.S. oil industry, on Russia’s President Putin, and on OPEC not producing more, but this has not prevented prices from reaching record highs.

Releasing a record amount of crude oil from the strategic petroleum reserve has also failed to rein in prices at the pump, leaving the Biden administration with very few moves left.

By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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  • George Kamburoff on July 04 2022 said:
    Oil companies will keep prices high to oppose Biden, who favors renewables.
  • DoRight Deikins on July 04 2022 said:
    Wow, «straight ahead misdirection»! Is there another term for this, a little less kind?

    And "misdirection or misunderstanding", what a nice balanced, parallel statement. Looks like Jeff has a literary bent. No wonder he started selling books!

    Congratulations, Steve. You're a better economist than 'the economist'!
  • steve Clark on July 04 2022 said:
    Wow, even the White house response to Bezos comment was daft....Prices for ANY product always go up fast but come down slowly. Additionally, due to labor shortages, costs are way up even for the oil companies which has to be added to gas prices.

    You CANNOT dump $4trillion dollars of printed money into the economy and then surprised you have run away inflation.....
  • Mamdouh Salameh on July 04 2022 said:
    The problem of rising crude oil prices is being worsened by global underinvestment in production capacity expansion leading to a fast-shrinking global spare capacity including OPEC+’s. High crude prices are here to stay for at least the next five years until investments in oil expansion capacity come to fruition.

    However, President Biden is right in accusing oil companies of profiteering. This is a problem not limited to the United States but is facing the whole world. The minute oil prices rise, oil companies immediately raise the prices of gasoline and diesel but when crude prices decline even significantly, we hardly see a corresponding decline in gasoline and diesel prices.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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