A number of oil executives agreed to testify before House lawmakers next week about quickly rising gas prices, but some glaring omissions are raising questions.
Executives from BP America, Chevron, Devon Energy Corp., ExxonMobil Corp., Pioneer Natural Resources Co., and Shell USA will appear at the hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, it announced Tuesday, Fox Business reports.
Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said he thinks the companies are profiting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“While American families struggle to shoulder the burden of rising gas prices from Putin’s war on Ukraine, fossil companies are not doing enough to relieve pain at the pump, instead lining their pockets with one hand while sitting on the other,” Pallone said in a joint statement with Overnight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO).
The hearing scheduled for April 6 does not include the two biggest U.S. refineries, Marathon and Valero, both based in Texas, or Saudi Aramco, which owns the largest refinery in the U.S.
Bloomberg opinion columnist Javier Blas noted the omission, saying that the lawmakers forgot to invite the refineries, which account for one-third of total U.S. refinery capacity.
US Congress announces hearing on “Gouged at the Gas Station”, but forgets to invite the 2 largest oil refining companies in the country, or the owner of the biggest refinery in America (together the three account for 33% of US refining capacity) | #OOTT https://t.co/jpVr1JVXkh
— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) March 29, 2022
AAA reported that the average gas price was $4.24 a gallon on Tuesday, and Pallone thinks it could be lower if oil companies weren’t taking huge profits at the expense of the working people.
“I am deeply concerned that the oil industry has not taken all actions within its power to lower domestic gasoline prices and alleviate Americans’ pain at the pump,” he said. “Instead, the industry appears to be taking advantage of the crisis for its own benefit.”
Fox Business pointed out that gas prices were increasing before Russia invaded Ukraine due to unfriendly Biden administration policies, and jumped about 50 cents per gallon as a result of the invasion.
There is concern that further increases will contribute to an economic recession and further contribute to the current economic woes caused by inflation and lingering pandemic effects.
Saudi Aramco has agreed to increase its oil production to meet rising demand, which may help moderate prices in the coming months.