Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Export Ban on Crude Oil Should Remain in Place
Press Release

RELEASE: Export Ban on Crude Oil Should Remain in Place

Washington, D.C. — Today, as Congress considers lifting the prohibition of crude oil exports, the Center for American Progress released an analysis that supports retention of the ban. The analysis finds that allowing exports for the first time since 1975 could lead to gasoline price spikes and weaker energy security. The American Petroleum Institute—Big Oil’s lobbying arm—proposed lifting the ban.

“Thanks to innovative drilling techniques and President Obama’s modern fuel-economy standards, the United States is producing more oil and using less of it,” said Daniel J. Weiss, Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress. “Selling crude oil at a higher price on the world market would pad the bank accounts of oil companies, but it could also raise gasoline prices at home and increase our imports. To protect the pocketbooks of families and businesses and maintain our energy security, we should keep American oil here at home.”

After the 1973 Arab oil embargo, the ban was enacted to keep nearly all domestically produced crude oil at home. At the time, the United States produced 64 percent of its oil and liquid fuels, while importing only 36 percent. In 2013, the United States produced and imported nearly the same proportion of petroleum.

When the ban on the export of Alaskan oil was lifted in 1996, the price gap between the West Coast and other gasoline grew from 5 cents to 15 cents. After Alaskan oil exports ended in 2000, this gap closed, according to the Congressional Research Service. Similarly, gasoline prices could rise nationwide if the United States exports some of its crude oil and is forced to import the more expensive foreign oil to replace it.

Mr. Weiss will be testifying on this issue before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday January 30 at 9:30 a.m. EST.

Read the analysis: Keep American Crude Oil at Home by Daniel J. Weiss and Miranda Peterson

To speak with an expert, contact Anne Shoup at [email protected] or 202.481.7146.