“At a time of record profits, Big Oil is refusing to increase production to provide the American people some much needed relief at the gas pump,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

House Democrats on Wednesday accused oil companies of “ripping off the American people” and putting profits before production as Americans suffer from ever-increasing gasoline prices amid the war in Ukraine, AP reports.

“At a time of record profits, Big Oil is refusing to increase production to provide the American people some much needed relief at the gas pump,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Oil executives, testifying before Congress for the second time in six months, responded that oil is a global market and that oil companies don’t dictate prices.

“We do not control the market price of crude oil or natural gas, nor of refined products like gasoline and diesel fuel, and we have no tolerance for price gouging,” said Chevron CEO Mike Wirth.

The hearing comes as President Joe Biden has ordered the release of 1 million barrels of oil per day from the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve for six months, a bid to control energy prices that have spiked after the United States and allies imposed steep sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The national average gas price was $4.16 a gallon for regular on Wednesday, up from $2.87 a year ago, according to AAA.

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