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The Real Reason Gas Is So Expensive? The US Needs More Refineries

With the country one hurricane away from another price surge, President Biden faces two dilemmas: A world short on oil and a nation short on capacity.
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Illustration: Choi Haeryung for Bloomberg Businessweek

No US president has been reelected with gasoline prices above $4 a gallon, and the price at the pump is almost $4.70 this summer. It’s the single biggest economic threat to Joe Biden’s presidency.

Biden’s first response was urging OPEC to raise global oil supplies, with some success. He tried to shame US shale drillers, too, for failing to put rigs back to work, with less success. Then administration officials began to confront an arguably bigger and longer-term obstacle to reining in the fuel prices that have sent inflation to the highest level in decades: America’s refining complex is in decline.