Biden to oil companies: Don’t hike prices as Hurricane Ian nears

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There are several signs that average gas prices in Florida have jumped significantly as the hurricane approaches.

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President Joe Biden has warned oil and gas companies against raising consumer prices as Hurricane Yan makes landfall along Florida’s southwest coast.

“Let me reiterate, don’t use this as an excuse to raise gas prices or fool the American people,” Biden said Wednesday at the start of the American Hunger Conference.

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Biden said the hurricane “does not provide an excuse to raise gas station prices” and if it does, he will ask federal officials to determine “whether price gouging continues.”

“America is watching. The industry needs to do the right thing,” Biden added.

There are several signs that average Florida gas prices have jumped significantly as the hurricane approaches. AAA estimated the state average at just under $3.40 per gallon ($0.87 per litre), up six tenths of a cent from a week ago.

The country recently ended a 99-day period of falling prices for pumps in the country, and this 14-week decline was the longest streak since 2015. The national average price topped $5 a gallon ($1.32 a liter) and $6 ($1.59 a liter) in California in June as economic recovery and increased travel boosted gasoline demand and Russia’s war in Ukraine triggered a surge in oil prices.

Gasoline prices largely reflect trends in world oil prices, while crude oil – both the US benchmark and international Brent – has been falling since mid-June due to growing fears of a global recession that will reduce energy demand.

Many energy analysts believe that prices will rise rather than fall in the next few months. But shifts in economic sentiment, Russia’s war on Ukraine, and even the hurricane season – always a threat to destroy oil refineries along the Gulf Coast – make forecasts uncertain.

The hurricane intensified as it made landfall, peaking at winds of 155 mph (250 km/h), just short of Category 5 most dangerous status. may be inundated by storm surge up to 18 feet (5.5 meters).

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