During a speech in Los Angeles Friday, President Joe Biden blamed record gas prices on the oil industry and said that US oil companies like Exxon Mobil Corp were raking in massive profits this past year.
“Exxon made more money than God this year,” the Catholic president told union representatives at the Port of Los Angeles as the national average price of gas is $ 4.99 per gallon.
In 19 states the price of a gallon of gas is over $ 5, according to the motorist group AAA.
Biden also accused the largest US oil company of spending their profits on stock purchases, rather than using it to drill and produce more oil.
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“Why aren’t they drilling? Because they make more money not producing more oil,” the president said. “Exxon, start investing and start paying your taxes.”
Exxon responded to Biden’s comments saying the company has spent tens of billions in taxes and continues to expand its operations.
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“We have been in regular contact with the administration, informing them of our planned investments to increase production and expand refining capacity in the United States,” spokesman Casey Norton said, Reuters reported.
Norton also said Exxon will expand its operations in Texas through a refinery expansion.
The expansion is large enough to constitute a “new medium-sized refinery,” said Norton, per the report.
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Exxon paid $ 40.6 billion in taxes in 2021 after losing nearly $ 20 billion the year before, the spokesperson added.
During his appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Wednesday, Biden also blamed oil companies for high gas prices.
“Oil companies, instead of everybody, says, ‘Well, Biden won’t let them drill.’ They have 9,000 drilling sites that they already own that are there. They’re not doing it, “Biden said to the host. “You know why? Because they make more money not drilling and buying back their own stock.”
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While pushing the blame for oil, the president took credit for the “fastest-growing economy in the world.”
Fox News’ Kristen Altus contributed to this report.