According to Mike Wirth, CEO of Chevron, record-high fuel costs in many nations may weaken public support for a green energy transition, as consumers have begun to associate high prices with the green energy push.
Accelerated timeframes for renewable energy sources in response to governments’ desires to decrease reliance on Russian energy while ongoing net-zero efforts could have the unintended consequence of raising prices and prolonging the shift, Wirth said.
The world needs policies that reduce emissions rather than restrict oil and gas production until it becomes self-sufficient in renewable energy. Chevron and other big U.S. producers have faced criticism, legislative hearings, and finger-pointing in recent months, as the US government blames Big Oil for high gasoline prices and accuses energy companies of price gouging.
Speaking this week, as carried by Reuters, Wirth said: “One of the things I worry the most about is a period of high prices that voters begin to identify with energy transition ambitions.”
“That can erode the public support that will be necessary for the energy transition.”
“There is a bit of a paradox that I observe.”
The government’s claims that oil companies are manipulating the market prompted a hearing earlier this year before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, during which CEOs of the country’s largest oil companies were probed about their involvement in determining gasoline prices.
Following that start of Russia’s war with Ukraine at the end of February, the discourse turned to “Putin’s Price Hike at the Pump,” with international crude oil prices surging to over $100 per barrel for the first time since 2014.