“Frankly that’s like a big tax cut, not a little tax cut for the consumer,” Trump told reporters Thursday at the White House. “So there’s something about that that I like.”
The president’s reaction to the plunge in oil prices has run somewhat counter to the response of the U.S. Energy Department, which on Monday denounced “attempts by state actors to manipulate and shock oil markets.” It also comes as the crude drillers that Trump had vowed to help unleash America’s oil upon the world are facing the biggest crisis since the shale revolution began.
Monday’s oil market crash, the biggest since 1991, came about after talks between Saudi Arabia and Russia to curtail production amid the coronavirus outbreak fell apart and both countries prepared to flood the market.
Trump confirmed that he held a call on Monday with Mohammed bin Salman, saying he asked the Saudi crown prince what was going on. “They’re having a dispute with Russia,” he said. “This is something that drove oil prices down.”
U.S. gasoline futures fell as much as 23% on Thursday after the president announced his plans to ban travel from 26 European countries. Gasoline in New York was down almost 24 cents a gallon to 87.08 cents at 11:42 a.m., the lowest since December 2008.
Harold Hamm — a shale industry titan and Trump confidant — told Bloomberg Television Wednesday that he’s seeking to file an anti-dumping complaint with the U.S. Commerce Department against the Saudi plan to flood the market. The administration is also considering lowering royalties for oil and gas extracted from federal land.