Speaking about inflation and the U.S. economy at the Port of Los Angeles Friday, President Biden blamed rising gas prices, now at $4.99 a gallon, on the greed of oil and gas companies.
"We're going to make sure everyone knows Exxon's profits," Biden told the dockworkers. "Exxon made more money than God last year."
Exxon's 2021 net income was $23 billion, and in the past 12 months, it has earned nearly $26 billion, Bloomberg reports.
Biden is pressuring U.S. oil companies to direct their energies to ramping up production on land where they have permits, rather than on stock buybacks to appease shareholders.
"The reason they're not drilling is they're buying back their own stock, which should be taxed, quite frankly — buying back their own stock and making no new investments," Biden said. "I always thought Republicans are for investment. Exxon: start investing and start paying your taxes."
Biden pledged to keep fighting against inflation while touring the Port of Los Angeles, America's busiest port and a place that the White House said last October would be key for reducing price pressures.
“My administration is going to continue to do everything we can to lower the prices to the American people,” the president said after a decidedly bleak new report on consumer prices.
The Labor Department reported Friday that consumer prices climbed 8.6% in May from a year ago. That’s the worst reading since December 1981 and a troubling sign for the economy as rate hikes by the Federal Reserve have yet to tamp down inflation as gasoline costs are surging upward.
Rising prices are imperiling the U.S. economy as well as Democratic control of the House and Senate, putting Biden on the defensive.
AAA separately reported Friday that average U.S. gas prices reached a record $4.99 a gallon, an increase that has overwhelmed the president's previous efforts to reduce overall inflation.
The pain at the pump is hurting Biden’s public approval ahead of the midterm elections.
(AP contributed to this story.)
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