In 1975, in reaction to fears of a possible global oil shortage, Congress placed severe restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports.
In 1975, Gerald Ford was the president, Patti Hearst was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, and 8-track audiotapes were high technology.
All of that has changed, except for the crude oil export ban. It is time for that policy to be relegated to the history books as well.
The need for restrictions on exports of U.S. crude (if it ever really existed in the first place) has long since passed. Thanks to fracking and other innovative production techniques, America has gone from energy scarcity to energy abundance.
We will soon be the world’s largest oil producer and must have the ability to sell that American-made energy where demand is highest. Exporting U.S. crude will open new markets and spur investment, and a recent study by ICF International and EnSys Energy concluded that it could result in an estimated increase of 500,000 barrels per day in domestic crude production by 2020.
Consumers have nothing to fear from crude oil exports. The ICF/EnSys study also concluded that adding U.S. crude to the global energy supply would put downward pressure on fuel prices, saving U.S. consumers up to $5.8 billion in fuel costs from 2015-2035.
Allowing crude oil exports will also provide a tremendous boost to the U.S. economy. The ICF/EnSys study estimates that, in 2020, lifting the outdated crude export ban could add an estimated $38 billion to GDP, increase government revenues by $13.5 billion, reduce our trade deficit by $22 billion, and support as many as 300,000 new jobs for American workers.
The crude oil export ban is a relic from a long-gone era that today stands in the way of economic growth, job creation, and more affordable fuel for U.S. consumers. Congress needs to move into the 21st Century and let it go.