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Crude Oil Exports Benefit U.S. Consumers – But What About Our Allies Abroad?

A growing body of fact-based research continues to reflect the clear economic and consumer benefits associated with repealing America’s decades old ban on crude oil exports. At the same time, evidence highlighting the undeniable national security and geopolitical advantages tied to modernizing America’s energy trade polices continues to mount.

Take the European Union (EU), for example. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), Russia is the third largest producer of crude oil, with “the majority (79%) of Russia’s crude oil exports” going “to European countries.”

The Washington Post recently reported that the EU “remains heavily dependent on imported oil — 39 percent of which comes from the tumultuous Middle East and Africa, and 42 percent from the former Soviet Union.”

This deep dependency is a principal reason why the “EU is pressing the United States to lift its longstanding ban on crude oil exports through a sweeping trade and investment deal, according to a secret document from the negotiations obtained by The Washington Post.”

Given the increased security threats facing our allies, it’s absolutely crucial that Washington pursues common sense policies aimed at enhancing America’s energy security. As noted this week by the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board:

“The United States and the EU have been debating whether they should provide arms for Ukraine, but the best weapons for fighting Vladimir Putin’s attempts to undermine a strong Europe are oil and gas.”

The White House has also recognized this positive shift, and to its credit is evaluating ways that the U.S. can leverage our abundant energy resources to further enhance our national security, all while supporting our friends and allies abroad. As recently noted in its National Security Strategy:

“America’s energy revival is not only good for growth, it offers new buffers against the coercive use of energy by some… The challenges faced by Ukrainian and European dependence on Russian energy supplies puts a spotlight on the need for an expanded view of energy security that recognizes the collective needs of the United States, our allies, and trading partners as well as the importance of competitive energy markets.”

And this from a new Columbia University report:

“Today’s oil market looks very different than in the 1970s when current crude oil export restrictions were first put in place. At that time, the US had adopted domestic price controls to combat inflation and crude export restrictions were necessary to make those price controls effective. While price controls have long since fallen away, crude export restrictions remain.”

Importantly, the United States already sells refined petroleum products [as well as other energy resources, such as natural gas liquids and coal] to our trading partners in the form of gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel. This is a crucial point made recently by the U.S. Department of Commerce as well as a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, which notes:

“The best guarantee of energy security is robust American production capacity. Allowing exports will at the margin provide more incentive to drill. By the way, consumers don’t purchase crude oil. They buy refined products, of which the U.S. is already a net exporter.”

So while the U.S. is exporting record volumes of refined petroleum products to our trading partners — resulting in sharp reductions to our nation’s trade deficit — repealing the decades old ban on crude oil exports would bolster this positive shift and have an immediate and significant impact on global energy markets. Doing so will not only provide our trading partners with a stable and reliable source of crude oil, but it will also enhance America’s energy security, all while spurring economic investment and job creation here at home.

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