Biden calls record oil profits a “windfall of war,” urges companies to lower gas prices

At the White House on Monday, President Biden called massive profits for oil companies a “windfall of war” from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Biden urged the companies to use the profits to increase oil production and refining capacity and reduce the price of gas for consumers.

Video transcript

JOE BIDEN: In the last six months, six of the largest oil companies have made more than $100 billion-- $100 billion. And we had little discussion about this, the three of us and others. $100 billion in profits in less than 200 days, that's not bad. And here's why this matters. I think it's outrageous what they're-- the size of the profit. Here's why it matters. These companies were making an average profits they've been making by refining oil over the last 20 years, instead of the outrageous profits are making today. And if they passed the rest on to the consumers, the price of gas would come down around an additional $0.50.

If they're investing their profits in historic-- at historic rates in their US operations, then America would be producing more oil today and prices would be down even further. But rather than increasing our investments in America or giving American consumers a break, their excess profits are going back to their shareholders and they're buying back their stocks, so the executive pay is-- are going to skyrocket. Give me a break, enough is enough.

Look, I'm a capitalist. You've heard me say this before. I have no problem with corporations turning a fair profit and getting a return on their investment in innovation. But this isn't remotely what's happening. Oil companies' record profits today are not because they're doing something new or innovative. Their profits are a windfall of war, the windfall from the brutal conflict that's ravaging Ukraine and hurting tens of millions of people around the globe.

You know, at a time of war, any company receiving historic windfall profits like this has a responsibility to act beyond their narrow self-interest of it executive shareholders. I think they have a responsibility to act in the interest of their consumers, their community, and their country-- to invest in America by increasing production and refining capacity because they don't want to do that, they have the opportunity to do that. Lowering prices for consumers at the pump-- if they don't, they're going to pay a higher tax on their excess profits and face other restrictions. My team will work with Congress to look at these up-- these options that are available to us and others.

It's time for these companies to stop war profiteering, meet their responsibilities in this country, and give the American people a break, and still do very well. The American people are going to judge who's standing with them and who is only looking out for their own bottom line. I know where I stand and I want to let-- you hear more from me about this when the Congress gets back.