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Biden Delivers Mixed Messages on Energy Prices

President Biden yesterday said his administration is prepared to make moves to increase U.S. refinery output of gasoline and diesel, according to AxiosABC News and CNBC
What’s happening: As average U.S. gasoline prices move past $5 a gallon, Biden’s letter called on the heads of major energy producers to offer “concrete, near-term solutions” to high gas prices, reported Axios.  

  • The memo hinted that if they do not offer fixes, the Biden administration “is prepared to take action … although the consequences of not complying are not clear,” according to ABC News. 

Why it’s important: The letter is part of the administration’s attempts to lower fuel costs “despite limited options,” according to Axios.  

  • But it stopped short of saying whether President Biden would support proposals like one from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), which would impose a new tax on energy producers. 
  • The NAM recently opposed other measures that are big on finger-pointing but short on real solutions.

Mixed messages: The president has “repeatedly called higher prices at the pump Putin’s tax, while also calling on U.S. producers to raise output. The messaging is at odds with the White House’s prior focus on reducing the U.S. fossil fuel output,” according to CNBC.

  • “Oil and gas producers have criticized the administration for not issuing new drilling leases on public lands, canceling the Keystone Pipeline and emphasizing its net zero carbon emissions climate agenda,” according to Axios.

The NAM’s view: “The solution to the worst inflation in four decades will never be political scapegoating or casting blame on the people providing American families the fuel and products they need,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

  • “Manufacturers know the answer: give energy producers the tools to ramp up domestic production, hit the pause button on unnecessary regulations that would make us less competitive and stop threatening to hit producers with new taxes.”
  • “Amid war, a pandemic and strained supply chains, manufacturers are losing confidence that we can avoid a recession, so now is the time for collaboration, not posturing.”
  • “Whether the issue is inflation, energy security or climate change, we always aim to be part of the solution, and we invite government leaders to join us in taking a serious, collaborative approach to this crisis.”
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