House Votes to End Oil Export Ban

Published November 13, 2015

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to lift the nation’s decades-old ban on exports of crude oil.

The move would strengthen the nation’s oil industry by allowing its product to be sold on the world market for the first time in 40 years.

Passed by a vote of 261–159 in early October, supporters say lifting the ban would increase the global supply of oil and lower gasoline prices for Americans.

Two similar bills in the Senate have passed through committees, but backers are struggling to find enough support from Democrats to allow the legislation to come to a vote before the full chamber. Should the repeal pass the Senate, President Barack Obama has said he will veto it.

To shore up the nation’s energy security, Congress passed the ban in 1975, after the Arab oil embargo caused lines at gas stations and fears of global oil shortages.

More Jobs, More Influence

Dan Kish, vice president of policy at the Institute for Energy Research, says every credible study concludes allowing U.S. producers to export crude oil would provide more energy, jobs, and influence in the world for the United States.

“This four-decades-old law is keeping our nation’s growth down, and with the lifting of the Iranian embargo, we are the only country in the world that cannot export our oil,” Kish said. “Now that the United States has become the largest oil and gas producer in the world due to private investment and innovation, the American people can reap the benefits of lower-priced gasoline and more jobs right here at home that will help us become the energy superpower we could be.

“Our allies will be strengthened by being able to purchase from us rather than Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the Iranians,” Kish said. “Our balance of trade will benefit, and new revenues will be generated that will, in turn, generate economic growth and jobs.

“This is a win-win,” said Kish. “Repeal of this outdated and wrong-headed embargo on our goods will rationalize economic markets and generate more investment here at home.”

Kish applauded the House’s vote, saying, “The House of Representatives acknowledged all these benefits and did the right thing. We should all hope the U.S. Senate will do the same.”

Kenneth Artz ([email protected]) writes from Dallas, Texas.