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Biden To U.S. Oil Industry: Don't Use Hurricane As Excuse For Price Gouging

Doubling down on the current U.S. administration's previous warnings to oil and gas companies to discontinue what it considers to be their price-gouging ways, President Biden cautioned U.S. oil and gas companies against using Hurricane Ian as an excuse to engage in price gouging.

"Do not—let me repeat, do not. Do not use this as an excuse to raise gasoline prices or gouge the American people," President Joe Biden said on Wednesday at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.

"This small temporary storm impact on oil production provides no excuse. No excuse for price increases at the pump. None. If gas companies try to use this storm to raise prices at the pump, I will ask officials to look into whether price gouging is going on," Biden added.

Crude oil inventories dropped in the week ending September 23 by 200,000 barrels despite millions of barrels released from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. On top of that, oil and gas operators evacuated 12 platforms in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, shutting in 11% of the area's crude oil production as the area braces for Hurricane Ian—now a life-threatening Category 4 hurricane.

Nearly 10% of all gas stations in Florida were out of fuel on Wednesday, according to the head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy, Patrick De Haan.

The national average price for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline rose to $3.765 on Wednesday, according to AAA data—up from 3.747 on Tuesday and up from $3.681 a week ago. Florida's gas prices were up on Wednesday to an average of $3.396 per gallon, compared to $3.394 per gallon on Tuesday or $3.390 a week ago.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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