As US administration strives for lower gasoline cost, oil prices are falling
Oil prices fell sharply in early trade on Wednesday, despite US President Joe Biden’s efforts to lower increasing fuel costs, which included pressure on large US corporations to help drivers during the country’s peak summer demand. At 00:31 GMT, US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down $1.34, or 1.2 percent, to $108.18 a barrel, while Brent crude futures were down $1.33, or 1.2 percent, to $113.32.
As the US battles rising gasoline costs and inflation, US President Joe Biden is poised to ask for a temporary suspension of the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gasoline tax on Wednesday, according to a person briefed on the proposal. On Monday, Biden said he was debating whether or not to run for president.
“Even oil traders recognized that higher oil prices would lead to a more aggressive tag team onslaught from the (US) Fed pushing rates higher and the Biden administration getting increasingly creative on the political and fiscal front to tame the energy inflation beast,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.
Seven oil corporations are scheduled to meet with Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, under pressure from the White House to lower fuel costs as they post record profits. On Tuesday, however, Chevron CEO Michael Wirth stated that criticizing the oil business was not the way to lower petrol prices.
“These measures are not helpful in solving the difficulties we face,” Wirth wrote in a letter to Biden, prompting Biden to respond that the industry was being overly sensitive. Despite inflation concerns, demand is projected to rise to pre-COVID levels, and supply is expected to trail demand growth, keeping the market tight, as trading giant Vitol and Exxon Mobil Corp pointed out this week. Oil sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow refers to as a “special operation,” have yet to take effect, implying that supplies will only tighten more.