April 11, 2022—House Democrats accused oil companies of "ripping off the American people" in a hearing last week, according to ABC News. This accusation comes amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine, with Democrats believing that oil companies are putting their profit before production as gas prices remain high.
"This feels like gouging. It even feels like profiteering,'' Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Washington, says in the ABC News article. Democrats have recently introduced bills to both the House and the Senate that seek to impose a windfall tax on oil profits, but the progress on these proposed bills has been negligible thus far.
“We do not control the market price of crude oil or natural gas, nor of refined products like gasoline and diesel fuel, and we have no tolerance for price gouging,” says Chevron CEO Michael Wirth. The hearing this past week marks the second time that oil executives like Wirth have testified before Congress in six months. Exxon, Shell, BP, Pioneer Natural Resources and Devon Energy have also testified.
In an effort to control current energy prices in the country, President Joe Biden recently ordered the release of a million barrels of oil per day from the nation's strategic petroleum reserve over the course of six months.
Oil companies are pledging to attempt to boost domestic oil production, but this effort is slow to take off. This is a result of supply chain issues, labor constraints, investor demands and the COVID-19 pandemic.