The Hill: No more reasons to keep the export ban on crude oil
By Reps. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.)
The current ban on U.S. crude oil exports was signed into law by former President Ford on Dec. 22, 1975. That year, Olivia Newton-John won a Grammy, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Jaws” ruled the box office, the Vietnam War drew to a close, and America was suffering from gasoline shortages and the Arab oil embargo.
Forty years ago, in a totally different geopolitical era, the ban on crude oil exports made more sense. The 1973 Arab oil embargo shrank global supply, leading world oil prices to skyrocket, and shortages and shocks were felt across the United States. The ban was put in place in response to an unstable global crude oil market and to ensure that America had enough oil to drive our own economy.
But today, the U.S. energy landscape has evolved, the global economy has expanded and geopolitical challenges are unique to the 21st century. The outdated crude oil export ban does little to benefit our domestic supply. It is hurting our domestic production, limiting our potential to create jobs and ultimately impeding our overall economy.
It is simple: the policy, which was created to protect American energy consumers by limiting our ability to sell product in the global market, is currently harming our economy.
The United States is now the No. 1 producer of oil and gas in the world. We no longer live in an era of scarcity, but rather in an era of domestic energy abundance that is recharging our manufacturing industry and serving as a key contributor to our economic recovery. As this American energy revolution and manufacturing resurgence unfolds, it is more important that we modernize our aging energy policy to reflect current inputs and domestic and global market forces.
Economists, energy producers and experts from all sides of the political spectrum predict that lifting the ban will in fact make gas prices go down. An analysis from the independent Government Accountability Office shows that lifting the ban would increase U.S. crude oil prices by up to $8 per barrel and reduce gasoline prices by up to 13 cents per gallon, thus creating one of the few unique economic environments that benefits both consumers and producers.
Thanks to advances in technology, U.S. crude oil production has doubled since 2008. Our production has been so successful that the U.S. Energy Information Agency has estimated the United States will not need to import any oil at all by 2037. In 1975, Ford and Congress could never have imagined this scenario, so it is our responsibility to make sure U.S. energy policies are modernized to support innovation, manufacturing and American jobs, and to keep pace with the global energy market.
With the leadership of Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the effort to lift the ban on crude oil exports has received strong bipartisan support. His bill to lift the 40-year-old ban cleared an important hurdle when it was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and now it is time to use this momentum to carry the measure through the House, the Senate and onto the president’s desk.
Lifting the export ban on crude oil is about maintaining our standing as a global leader, incentivizing innovation, reducing consumer energy costs and bringing jobs back for American families. We are at a point in time where we have a choice. As a nation we can choose to modernize our energy policy to achieve an environment of energy abundance, domestic energy security and job creation, or we can choose to maintain an outdated status quo.
Flores has represented Texas’s 17th Congressional District since 2011. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and is chairman of the Republican Study Committee. Mullin has represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and is co-chairman of the Republican Study Committee Energy Task Force.