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Report: Lifting U.S. Oil Export Ban Would Generate Economic Opportunities

The Energy Security Initiative at Brookings released a new report titled “Changing Markets: Economic Opportunities from Lifting the U.S. Ban on Crude Oil Exports .” The report “shows categorically that the crude oil export ban does not, and for some time has not, advanced U.S. energy security. Despite these policies (not because of them), the U.S. has swung from an abundance of oil supply, to scarcity and, today, back to abundance.”  

According to Brookings: “Lifting the ban significantly enhances U.S. energy security in several ways. Allowing U.S. producers to connect to global price signals will generate expansion of U.S. oil production, securing self-sufficiency in light grades of oil. By encouraging this production of light grades of oil, the U.S. increases global diversity of oil supply, while reducing the volatility of global crude oil prices. The U.S. has the opportunity to create a source of diversification to the global oil supply and create a more competitive oil market which will not only lower the global price of crude, but also enhances U.S. energy security.”  

Further: “…our analysis demonstrates that lifting the ban will increase U.S. oil production, diversify global supply, reduce U.S. gasoline prices and provide net benefits to the U.S. economy. An export option is indispensable to sustaining domestic production; absent the price support that exposure to international markets provides, U.S. production will not reach its full potential. Keeping the ban in place will forgo these benefits and likely lead to reduced production and by implication less national income, employment and security. We find that it would be unwise to base national policy on protecting a small subset of U.S. refiners and question how sustainable a business model based on artificially suppressed input prices can be.”  

As a sidebar, Brookings also offers “8 Facts About U.S. Crude Oil Exports ,” including:

  • “In all three cases — delaying lifting the ban until 2015, lifting the ban only on condensates or lifting the ban entirely — there are positive percentage change impacts on GDP throughout the model horizon.”
  • “U.S. gas prices could decline by $0.09 per gallon in 2015 if the ban is lifted entirely.”
  • ” Removing oil export constraints will enhance U.S. energy security.”