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The White House said Wednesday that U.S. oil companies are shirking their “patriotic duty” to refine more gasoline to bring down record-high prices amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“We see it as a patriotic duty. … We are calling on them to do the right thing, to be patriots here, and not use the war as an excuse” to price gouge, said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

She said oil companies are “using this moment of war where American families are feeling the high cost of food and gas to profit.”

“That is not a patriotic thing to do. The president has a right to call them out,” she said.

Mr. Biden sent a letter to oil companies on Wednesday, urging them to raise production in a bid to lower prices that have climbed past $5 per gallon at the pump.

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