On one hand the Biden administration is offering an olive branch to US shale producers, whose oil it desperately needs to offset near record high oil prices. On the other, Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren are hinting at the fire and brimstone the Congress hopes to unleash on US oil companies (before November, as the Democrats face a historic loss at the midterm elections).
As prices at the pump continue to rise for Americans, and as U.S. President Joe Biden warns oil and gas companies about price-gouging to take advantage of profits from the fallout of the Russia-Ukraine war, Senator Elizabeth Warren reveals she is gearing up to propose a new windfall tax on oil profits, OilPrice reports.
“Big Oil’s first priority is to maximize profits,” Warren said in a Tweet on Wednesday. “We can’t let them use Putin’s invasion as an excuse to pad their bottom line with war-fueled profits.”
Warren said she was working with Senate Democrats on the new tax proposal, which may or may not end up being included in President Biden’s revised plans.
The bill would target windfall profits, sudden and usually large profits for oil companies in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Look, we get it, supply and demand, that prices go up. But profit margins should not go up,” Warren told MSNBC on Tuesday. “That’s just oil companies gouging when they do that.”
The U.S. national current average for gas prices as of Wednesday is $4.252, up from $4.171 yesterday and $3.656 a week ago, according to AAA.
Attorneys General in multiple states have been warning consumers about price-gouging.
Could the bill possibly earn bipartisan support?
East Bay Congressman John Garamendi, one of the figures set to investigate claims of price gouging, said that while no one had reached out to Republicans yet, he expected those in “urban and suburban areas” due to rising gas prices, but he expected strong opposition from those in the oil patch.
Shareholders of American oil companies are getting rewarded for the first time, and that “windfall” tax represents long overdue dividends for investors who got taken for a ride in the first shale boom and are only now reaping the rewards.