An oil industry group blasted a tweet from President Biden’s account over the weekend that called on “companies running gas stations” to lower their prices, saying the intern who penned the post should enroll in “Econ 101.”
The retort from the U.S. Oil and Gas Association, which has picked up 19,000 retweets and more than 90,000 likes, comes as the White House says it’s laser-focused on lowering prices at the pump. The president has backed a suspension of the federal gas tax and is considering opening up additional domestic drilling, though neither is expected to lower prices in the short term.
In his Saturday tweet, Biden took aim directly at the companies selling gas.
“My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril,” the tweet said. “Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now.”
Biden’s call was met with significant pushback, with detractors arguing the tweet displayed a basic ignorance of market realities.
“Working on it Mr. President,” the U.S. Oil and Gas Association responded. “In the meantime — have a Happy 4th and please make sure the WH intern who posted this tweet registers for Econ 101 for the fall semester.”
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos knocked Biden over the tweet, writing, “Inflation is far too important a problem for the White House to keep making statements like this. It’s either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.”
Administration officials took to Twitter and television to defend Biden’s remarks.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to criticism from Bezos, tweeting it’s not surprising the billionaire thinks “oil and gas companies using market power to reap record profits at the expense of the American people is the way our economy is supposed to work.”
The average price of gas briefly passed $5 per gallon in June but has fallen to an average of $4.80, according to AAA.
On top of pressuring gas stations to lower prices, Biden has also bashed oil companies for raking in large profits while prices remain near record highs.
Republicans have clamored for the Biden administration to increase drilling at home to reduce reliance on gas imports and theoretically bring stability to the U.S. market.
The administration on Friday punted on the issue of whether it would open up additional oil drilling, but said it is crafting a plan that could include up to as many as 11 new offshore drilling leases or none at all.
Democrats have given a cool reception to another of the president’s proposals, suspending the federal gas tax, one of the few tools Biden has to directly influence prices for consumers at the pump.