America Export Ban of 40 Years for Oil May Be Lifted
The ban on exporting U.S. oil might be ending before its 40th year anniversary. There is a growing momentum to end this restriction and a deal might be reached prior to the end of this year as part of a wide reaching tax and spending bill that is making its way across Capitol Hill.
Proponents argue that the restriction is outdated. It became law in December of 1975 when the oil embargo by OPEC created a shortage of oil that slammed the economy in the U.S.
However, today there is too much oil in the world, thanks in large part to the shale oil boom in the U.S. Because of that, prices of crude oil have fallen below the $35 per barrel rate and a gallon of gas in the U.S. is ready to fall below the $2.00 mark.
Proponents of a change are saying that the oil scarcity no longer exists to justify keeping the oil at home. There is also too much.
Jason Bordof a former adviser to President Barack Obama on energy, who testified in front of Congress about the issue, says lifting the ban would help keep gasoline inexpensive.
One reason for the push of lifting the ban on exporting is that the prices of gasoline are low or about half those of 2008 when they hovered around $4.00 per gallon.
Politicians do not have the same reason to fear their voters will put blame on them for high prices of gas, caused by allowing oil in the U.S. to be sold overseas.
The U.S. oil is actually traded at a discount to the Brent crude. That is because oil producers in the U.S. cannot export to refiners overseas who are willing to pay more.
Producers in the U.S. will have a much broader market to sell to if the export is finally lifted. That is why this will likely make gas and oil prices less during the future than they are otherwise.
Lifting the export ban on oil would encourage more output domestically over the long term as the prices rebound from the current lows.
That increased oil activity in the U.S. should help to save more jobs for people working in the U.S. oil industry.
This is the best chance to date of the ban being lifted, but Congress does not have much time to decide, as the holidays are here and Congress could shut down for the year before a measure is even voted upon.
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