President Biden on Monday said oil companies raking in record profits could face higher taxes unless they increase extraction to lower the price of gasoline at the pump. Rather than increase production to alleviate high costs on American consumers, companies are instead often spending billions on dividends and stock buybacks to reward their shareholders.

“It’s time for these companies to stop war profiteering, meet their responsibilities to this country, give the American people a break and still do very well,” Biden said. He did not explicitly call for a “windfall tax” on profits he described as a “windfall of war.”

Huge profits

Biden’s comments follow recent gangbusters earning reports from multiple firms including Exxon and Chevron Corp, the two biggest U.S. oil and gas companies that reported over $30 billion in combined earnings last Friday — enough that the two firms combined pulled down more than $400,000 in the time it takes to fill an SUV gas tank, according to CNN.

ExxonMobil reported $19.7 billion in Q3 profits, besting its previous $17.9 billion record profits from the previous quarter. Chevron netted $11.2 billion in Q3, nearly doubling its 2021 Q3 profits. Shell posted $9.45 billion in Q3 profits and announced plans to buy back $4 billion of stock in Q4 and increase its dividend. BP pulled down an “exceptional” $6.24 billion in Q3 profits, its second-highest quarterly profit ever and said it would buy back $3.5 billion of shares. The U.S. is also currently facing a significant shortage of diesel fuel, with wide-ranging implications across the economy.

(Biden: Washington Post $, E&E News, New York Times $, Axios, E&E News, The Hill, The Hill, Politico, NBC; Exxon: The Guardian, Reuters, CNN, CNBC; Shell: New York Times $, CNBC, Barron’s, AP, Reuters, CNN; Chevron: Reuters; BP: Bloomberg $, Wall Street Journal $, Bloomberg $; Diesel shortage: The Hill, CNBC, NPR, OilPrice, Forbes)