Friday, October 09, 2015
Billy Long: It's time to end the crude oil ban
Most folks don’t realize that aside from countries like Iran who have had sanctions imposed on them, the United States is the only country that does not trade oil freely in the open market. This is because of the crude oil export ban, which was established in 1975 as a way to counter the Arab oil embargo against the U.S.
There is no arguing that this embargo had a negative effect on our economy. In the wake of the massive gasoline shortages it caused, price controls and this ban on crude oil exports were implemented by President Carter’s administration to decrease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
However, today the crude oil ban is a badly outdated relic of the past. The past forty years have given us a much larger crude oil reserve than expected. We are now the largest crude oil producer in the world, and have plenty to spare.
No matter what political party controls parts of our federal government system, it’s very likely that this ban will eventually be lifted no matter what. Right now, however, with the American economy’s sluggish growth and record numbers of able bodied Americans leaving the workforce, lifting this ban could provide a spark we desperately need.
Our economy would experience a great surge if we took advantage of our ability to sell this oil. Oil companies would be incentivized to produce even more oil, and some estimates show that production could rise by nearly 3 million barrels per day by 2020, and raise GDP by as much as $1.8 trillion by 2039.
Lifting the export ban would spur economic growth and create thousands of jobs. Furthermore, it would diversify the world oil supply, which would strengthen our national security while giving us more leverage in foreign policy matters.
Recently, I helped pass bipartisan legislation to end this ban through the committee I sit on, the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, and ultimately passed it through the full House. Ending this ban just makes sense and would grow our economy. It is my hope that the Senate and President Obama understand the importance and benefits of this legislation as well, so that it can start paying dividends for the American people.