Center for American Progress

Levy a Fee on Imported Oil for Clean Energy Investments
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Levy a Fee on Imported Oil for Clean Energy Investments

President Obama should follow President Ford’s lead by adopting a very modest fee on imported oil to raise revenue to invest in reducing foreign oil use.

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The Trade Expansion Act gives the president authority to levy a fee on imported oil if such imports threaten national security. President Gerald Ford invoked this authority in 1975 to levy a $2 per barrel fee on imported oil (equivalent to $8.10 today). The United States imported 37 percent of its oil back then.

President Ford proclaimed “it necessary and consistent with the national security to further discourage importation into the United States of petroleum… to create conditions favorable to domestic crude oil production needed for projected national security requirements; …and to encourage the development of other sources of energy.”

Ford noted that levy would provide revenue for investments and rebates. He said “those dollars would remain in this country and would be returned to our economy.” President Obama should follow President Ford’s lead by adopting a very modest fee on imported oil to raise revenue to invest in reducing foreign oil use.

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