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(Bloomberg) -- The White House is willing to use the same emergency wartime law it invoked to increase the production of baby formula and bolster solar manufacturing to boost the nation’s supply of gasoline.
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President Joe Biden is open to using the Cold War-era Defense Production Act to increase gasoline output “and lower costs at the pump,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a briefing Wednesday.
“Already, the President has demonstrated his willingness to use that emergency powers to lower costs for families,” Jean-Pierre said, in response to a question about using the law to expand refining capacity. “We’re saying that the President has used it before and he’s willing to do that again.”
Jean-Pierre’s comments come as Biden asks oil refiners to take “immediate action” to increase capacity as soaring gasoline prices top more than $5 a gallon on average nationwide.
“My administration is prepared to use all reasonable and appropriate Federal Government tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and output in the near term, and to ensure that every region of this country is appropriately supplied,” Biden wrote in a letter Wednesday to companies that included Marathon Petroleum Corp., Valero Energy Corp., Phillips 66, BP Plc, and Shell Plc.
More than 1 million barrels a day of the country’s oil refining capacity — or about 5% overall — have shut since the beginning of the pandemic.
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