U.S. President Joe Biden demands oil refining companies explain why they are not putting more gasoline on the market.
U.S energy companies enjoying bumper profits as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has added to a supply squeeze.
Refiners are running at near-peak levels to process fuel – currently at 94% of capacity – and say there is little they can do to satisfy Biden’s demands.
Rising gas prices have helped drive unexpectedly persistent consumer price inflation and voter anger.
Privately, White House officials have been reaching out to refiners to inquire about idled plants and spare capacity.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm plans to host an emergency meeting on how refiners can respond to higher prices.