The Case for Lifting the Crude Oil Export Ban

The United States is running out of room in its crude oil storage facilities and the question is ― where does the crude go now? As domestic crude oil production continues to rise, it has no place to go due to an obsolete ban on the exportation of crude oil in the U.S.

The International Energy Agency said in its monthly oil market report that U.S. supply shows no signs of slowing down, an assessment that pushed the price of crude below $57 a barrel and lowered gas prices at the pump. Low gas prices led to record amounts of driving in 2014, culminating in a record-breaking December, new federal data shows.

With the U.S. now producing more oil and natural gas than Russian and Saudi Arabia, over 11 million barrels a day (55 percent increase from five years ago), lifting the U.S. oil export ban would:

  • Add over $1 trillion in government revenues by 2030.
  • Create 300,000 more jobs a year.
  • Increase current U.S. production from 8.2 million B/D currently to 11.2 million B/D.
  • Cut the U.S. oil import bill by an average of $67 billion per year.
  • Lower gasoline prices by an annual average of 8 cents per gallon.
  • Save U.S. motorists $265 billion for during the 2016-2030 period.

Despite the fact that oil imports are at the lowest level since 1985, the U.S. still imports 33 percent of its oil from foreign sources. A broad view by the public is that U.S. oil should stay at home will test export proponents. A majority of voters, 53 percent, opposed exporting oil. At present, the current policy is discouraging additional crude oil supplies from being brought to market, which actually makes gasoline prices higher than they otherwise would be. The increased economic activity resulting from the rise in crude production would support an average of 394,000 additional U.S. jobs over the 2016-2030 period, with a peak of 964,000 jobs in 2018.

Doing away with exports restrictions would also generate added benefits to U.S. household income, gross domestic product (GDP) and government revenues. The average disposable income per household would increase by an additional $391 in 2018 as benefits from increased investment.

The current hydraulic fracturing and American energy boom is reducing oil imports by 22 percent next year. Lifting the crude oil export ban would increase the energy boom. This boom could also reduce the oil imports of European countries. The United States could replace Russia title as “Europe’s gas station” and provide all of Europe’s energy needs.

Comments (3)

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  1. Frank says:

    This was a policy for another decade. Agreed, it would be a great boon for America to sell some of its oil.

  2. CRS says:

    A question?
    If the US has oil to export, why do we continue to import oil?
    One approach could be to allow exporting oil only after we stop importing oil.
    Make that the plan, sell it to the Congress, pass the law, and then stick to it.

  3. Brian Williams. says:

    In a global economy, it makes little sense to ban crude oil exports. We would never consider banning exports of wheat, steel or Ford pickups.