South Court Auditorium
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
2:03 PM EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everyone. I want to talk to you about the steps I am announcing to lower gas prices.
First, I am calling on Congress today to suspend the federal gas tax for the next 90 days through a busy summer – a busy travel season.
What this means: Every time you go to a gas station to fill your tank, the federal government charges an 18-cent tax on every gallon of gas you buy, and a 24-cent tax on every gallon of diesel you buy. This is a tax that has been around for 90 years.
This is important because we use it for the Highway Trust Fund to continue our highways. But what I am proposing is to suspend the federal gas tax without affecting the Highway Trust Fund.
And here’s how we do it: Tax revenues this year and our deficit this year are less than $ 1.6 trillion, we are still able to fix our highways and reduce gas prices. We can do both at the same time.
18-cent Gas Tax for the Next 90 Days – By suspending the federal gas tax, we can reduce the cost of gas and provide some relief to families.
I call on companies to transfer every penny of these 18 cents deductions to customers. This is – now is no time for profit.
There are many other proposals from the Democrats in the House and Senate, and I hope the call for my action will help move those proposals forward. But we can cut the gas price even more in another way.
That is why the second step I am taking is calling on states to find other ways to suspend state gas tax or offer some relief.
State gas taxes are average [another] 30 cents per gallon. Some states have already taken action.
In Connecticut and New York, governors have temporarily suspended their gas tax.
In Illinois and Colorado, governors delayed giving families a little more breathing room.
In Minnesota, Governor Walz proposed to use state budget surpluses to provide a concession to help pay for gas for gas or other essential needs.
I am calling on more states and local governments to take action like this.
Thanks to our historic economic recovery, which strengthened state budgets that have plagued the epidemic, states are now in a position to take some of these steps.
Now, I fully understand that gas tax leave alone is not going to solve the problem, but it does provide an immediate solution for families – a little breathing room – as we continue to work to keep prices down for the long haul.
Third, I am calling on the industry to refine most oil into gasoline and reduce gas prices.
Let me explain. I know my Republican friends claim that we are not producing enough oil and that I am limiting oil production. Honestly, that’s absurd.
Here’s the truth: The US produced 12 million barrels of oil a day this month. That’s the highest – that’s above average under my predecessor. And I – we’re on the path to setting a new record for production next year.
In addition, I have added to the oil supply by releasing 1 million barrels of oil per day from a record known as the Strategic Petro – Petroleum Reserve.
In fact, I have led the world to coordinate the largest release of global oil reserves in history, including other countries. In total, 240 million barrels to increase global supply.
And Republicans falsely claim that I am blocking production on federal land. But then again, that’s absurd.
The industry has more approved licenses for production on federal land than they are likely to use. That’s the truth.
My administration has directed the sale of gasoline using domestic biofuels this summer – ethanol, E15 – which will increase gasoline supply and reduce prices at thousands of gas stations across the US.
And I welcome the recent announcement of the so-called OPEC +, a group of about two dozen oil producing countries to boost global oil supply.
Bottom line: We are setting records in terms of American energy production. We are supplying supply with the release from our oil reserves. So the problem is not just oil production; The problem is that the oil is refined into gas at the pump.
During the epidemic, some oil and gas companies shut down refining facilities.
Last week I sent a letter to the CEOs of large oil refineries working with my administration to bring refineries back online to get more gas for the pump at lower prices.
The Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm and members of my team will meet with many of these refining companies tomorrow. And I hope they come to the table in the next period with some real ideas and practical steps.
And I am prepared to act quickly and decisively on their recommendations if it makes sense to address the immediate challenge that lies before us and the American people.
Finally, when the price of oil goes down, we need the price of gas stations – they are – to reduce the charges they charge at the pump.
For example, in the past two weeks, oil prices have fallen by more than $ 10.00 per barrel. Generally, this reduces the cost of the pump by about 25 cents per gallon. So far, however, gas stations have reduced prices by a few cents per gallon. Some have not reduced the price.
I have heard plenty of explanations from companies and economists about why these price cuts usually take time to reach consumers. I notice that when the price of a barrel of oil increases, it takes a long time for the price of the pump to rise – ta-.
So, let’s be honest with each other. My message is simple. For companies that run gas stations and set those prices at the pump: it’s wartime, global peril, Ukraine. These are not normal times.
Reduce the price you charge at the pump to reflect the cost you are paying for the product. Do it now. Do it now. Your customers, the American people, they need a solution now.
So, let me summarize:
Today, I am calling for a federal gas tax holiday, a state gas tax holiday
For [or] Equal compensation for customers; Oil companies to use their profits to increase processing capacity rather than buy back their own stock; Gas stations pass through the decree – I’m sorry, not decree, but a drop in oil prices to keep prices down at the pump.
Together, these measures help reduce the cost of the pump by $ 1.00 a gallon or more. It does not reduce all the pain, but it can be a big help.
I am doing my part. I want Congress, the states and industry to do their part.
And let’s remember how we got here: Putin invaded Ukraine. Putin invaded Ukraine with 100,000 troops.
Just look at the facts: Since the war began in Ukraine this year, gas prices in the United States have risen to about $ 2.00 a gallon and sometimes more worldwide.
But this was not just Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. What we haven’t seen since World War II is the refusal of the United States and the rest of the free world to keep Putin away.
As I said at the time: standing up for Ukraine in the aftermath of World War II’s most serious invasion of Europe – protecting independence, defending democracy – is not without cost to the American people and the rest of the free world. We have to move the cost of military equipment, financial aid, humanitarian relief. And sanctioned Russian banking industries.
Russia is the largest OI- – one of the world’s largest oil producers. We cut Russian oil to the United States and our partners in Europe did the same, knowing we would see higher gas prices.
We could have closed our eyes to Putin’s assassination routes, and the gas prices would not have gone up.
I believe it could be wrong. I believed then – I believed then, and now believe: The free world had no choice.
Although some suggested at the time – the US could not stand and the West could not stand – and watch Putin’s tanks roll over to Ukraine and conquer the sovereign country.
Putin would not have stopped if we had stayed. Putin kept going, and we still face steep prices.
And that’s not just me. The American people understood. The American people rose to the moment. The American people did what they have always done: protect the freedom around the world. He decided to stand with the people of Ukraine.
We have unanimous support in Congress – Democrats, Republicans and independents – to support Ukraine, fully aware of the cost.
Are you now saying that it is wrong for us to support Ukraine, because Republicans in Congress today criticized me for the price of gas in America? Are you saying it is wrong for us to stand in front of Putin? Are you saying that we have low gas prices in the USA and Putin’s iron fist in Europe? I don’t believe it.
See, I get the easy politics of the attack. I understand that. But the simple fact is that Vladimir Putin’s ruthless attack on Ukraine has increased gas prices by about $ 2.00 per gallon and we will not let him get away with it. And now we are doing everything to ease this pain at the pump.
And if those experiences show us anything, we need to develop and utilize more energy at home.
Let’s reduce the price of electric vehicles so we don’t have to pay for the pump in the first place.
Major auto companies are preparing to have 50 percent electric vehicles by 2030, and 100 percent electric vehicles by 2035. We are already building secure supply chains to build these electric vehicles in the US.
And we are investing about $ 100 billion in public transport and rail, because all the studies show that it takes millions of cars off the road and significantly reduces pollution if a serious transportation system is available.
Let us accelerate the deployment of our domestic resources – energy sources such as solar and wind, nuclear and hydrogen and carbon capture and storage – and continue to develop battery technologies so that we can store the energy we need when the sun is not in the sun or in the wind. Do not blow.
Folks, let’s make sure that we are not forced to pay the price of the dreadful dictator halfway around the world.
We can cope with this immediate crisis of high gas prices and still conquer the future of clean energy.
We are Americans. We can do both. We have the most deserving people in the world.
Let me close with this: As we lead the world in defending democracy and standing up to brutal dictators, there are steps we can now take to help American families. We have taken them. We’re taking them. Federal gas tax leave, state gas tax holiday. Bringing back refineries, keeping them online.
We just have to keep going. I assure you that I am doing everything I can – everything possible to reduce energy prices, to reduce gas prices. And I want to make sure we all work together.
May God bless you all. And may God save our army. Thank you very much.
2:16 PM EDT