By Brad Plumer
The United States can export coal, gasoline, and (sometimes) natural gas. But, for the most part, U.S. companies aren’t really allowed to export crude oil. That’s the law.
Is it time to lift that ban on crude exports? Some people think so — especially now that the United States is producing more oil than it has in decades. Overturning the ban, in theory, would allow companies to sell even more oil and keep expanding.
Recently, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) gave a speech at the Brookings Institution calling on the Obama administration and Congress to loosen restrictions on crude-oil exports in order to boost domestic production. “We need to act,” she said, “before the crude export ban raises problems and hurts American jobs.” Jack Gerard, the head of the American Petroleum Institute, expressed similar sentiments later in the day.
But not everyone’s convinced. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) has argued that the export ban was put in place back in the 1970s to “protect U.S. consumers from volatility and price spikes.” Allowing more exports, he argued, might cause U.S. gasoline prices to rise and hurt American consumers. And some environmental groups are leery of boosting fossil-fuel production even further.
This debate is beginning to attract more attention.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/08/u-s-oil-exports-have-been-banned-for-40-years-is-it-time-for-that-to-change/?tid=hpModule_79c38dfc-8691-11e2-9d71-f0feafdd1394