GOP senator denies Big Oil is making record profits as he battles Buttigieg over gas prices
Rick Scott, R- Fla., speaks during a Senate committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 23, 2021. - ERIN SCOTT/Pool/AFP/TNS

During a hearing this Tuesday, Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott questioned Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg over his past openness to increasing the tax gas and whether or not he's still open to the idea in light of rising gas prices.

Buttigieg clarified that the Biden administration is not currently considering a gas tax and is instead looking for ways to provide relief to consumers.

Scott then turned to rising inflation, to which Buttigieg assured him that the administration is doing everything it can to cut costs, but then suggested that oil companies are solely responsible for rising gas prices.

"So you believe that only gas companies are the problem here, not the Biden administration shutting down the pipelines and making it difficult for more oil and gas to be produced in this country?" Scott asked.

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"Well as you know, there are thousands of permits right now for oil and gas production that the oil and gas companies are choosing not to use," Buttigieg shot back.

"The leases are there, not the permits are there," Scott countered. "Your administration has prevented people from getting the permits to drill for more oil and gas where we're seeing record prices."

Buttigieg then said that the reason the oil and gas companies are pursuing production is because they themselves have said their profits are up.

"No, that's not true," Scott replied.

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According to a CBS News report from last month, when asked why they weren't drilling more, nearly 60% of oil executives cited "investor pressure to maintain capital discipline" as the primary reason, despite rapidly rising prices. Only 11% cited environmental, social or governance issues, 8% said they had difficulty getting financing, and 15% cited other reasons.

In a February earnings call, Exxon CEO Darren Woods emphasized the oil and gas giant's focus on profitability over volume of oil.

"One of the primary objectives we've had ... is less about volume and volume targets and more about the quality and profitability of the barrels that we're producing," Woods told investors.

Watch the video below or at this link:

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