There are calls to change U.S. law to permit the export of crude oil produced in the United States, Fox News
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has called for lifting the export ban on the grounds that the country has more oil than its refineries can process. "This ban threatens record-breaking U.S. oil production and American jobs by creating inefficiencies, gluts and distortions," Murkowski said.
President Barack Obama can lift the export ban under existing law, said Murkowski, but she would be prepared to introduce legislation if the White House does not act.
A ban on selling oil overseas was put into place in 1975 in the wake of the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, according to Brooking Institute
analysts who support lifting the ban.
The extent to which the U.S. now meets its own energy needs during any given week fluctuates, according to Bloomberg.
Overall, the U.S. continues to consume
far more oil than it produces, according to Index Mundi.
The United States imports about 40 percent of its petroleum needs mostly from Canada and Latin America, NPR
Proponents of lifting the ban say more oil on the international market would help reduce gas prices at home, Fox News reported.
Charles Drevna of the American Fuel and Petroleum Manufacturers said, "We're going to have a manufacturing renaissance and rebirth like we have never seen before in this country if we take advantage of our God-given resources."
Opponents such as Dan Weiss of the Center for American Progress said, "Crude oil sold overseas can get about $10 more per barrel than it can in the United States. That will make the oil companies more money, but could raise the price of gasoline here, while forcing us to depend more on other countries."
Delta Airlines executive Graeme Burnett told a congressional hearing that jet fuel would cost more if the export ban were lifted. Consumers would pay more for "gasoline, more for heating oil and more for the price of an airline ticket," Burnett said.
Environmentalists also oppose any change out of concern that more oil would be transported around the country increasing the chances of an accidental spill.
- U.S. Crude Production Outpaces Imports for First Time Since '95
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