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API: U.S. leverage hurt by oil export ban

GAO report finds consumer fuel prices fall under export scenario.

By
Daniel J. Graeber

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A report on the impacts of crude oil exports reinforces the industry view that trade barriers are curbing U.S. influence, the American Petroleum Institute said.

A report from the Government Accountability Office found consumer fuel prices would decline if authorities ended the 1970s ban on crude oil exports.

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John Felmy, API's chief economist, said allowing free trade in the U.S. oil sector would have a ripple effect beyond the domestic market.

"U.S. energy production is already having a major impact on world markets, and if policymakers embrace free trade, that influence will continue to grow in a way that benefits our economy," he said in a statement Monday.

U.S. refiners have expressed concern that easing the ban on crude oil exports would mean higher costs per barrel in the U.S. market. The GAO study found exports would raise domestic crude oil prices by as much as $8 per barrel.

In terms of consumer benefits, the report found domestic fuel prices would fall because those prices follow international market conditions.

The GAO report relied in part on recommendations from a September study from NERA Economic Consulting, which found that lifting the ban on crude oil exports doesn't eliminate foreign dependency.

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