House of Representatives Votes to End 40-Year Old U.S. Oil Export Ban

Lifting the ban would lower gas prices and boost domestic oil production - Obama wants to keep it.



Back during the "energy crisis" of the 1970s, Congress voted to ban the export of oil produced in the United States. Why? Because the federal government had imposed domestic price controls to combat inflation and crude export restrictions were thought necessary to make those price controls effective. The economically idiotic price controls are long gone, but the export ban remains.It is past time to lift the ban and allow American producers to sell their crude in international markets.

A 2014 study by researchers at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, Resources for the Future finds that lifting the ban would likely reduce domestic gasoline prices and boost investment in oil production. How so? Basically the fracking boom has so increased domestic production that it is right now outstripping refining capacity, thus enabling the bottlenecked refiners to buy domestic crude at discounted prices. Lower domestic prices also means that producers have less incentive to invest in more production. The RFF researchers note lifting the ban would mean that domestic oil prices would rise, but they calculate that greater efficiencies at refineries would more than offset that increase. The ultimate result would be gasoline prices that are between 1.7 and 4.5 cents per gallon lower.

They conclude that …

… the economic arguments for lifting the ban are strong, based primarily on the gains from free trade and the example it sets when we live by our market principles. Such action will create winners and losers, however, and may lead to increases in greenhouse gases.

President Obama opposes lifting the ban as do various Congressional Democrats. Why? Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) offered this rationale:

"It makes no sense to export our oil abroad when we still import millions of barrels of oil a day and consumers are saving at the pump because of discounted U.S. oil prices."

The House has acted. So now it's time for the Senate remove an export ban which is already 40 years past its sell-by date.

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  1. That — is a surprisingly non horrible action by congress. I am less happy and more concerned about what they are hiding.

    1. Yeah, my first thought is “and what horrible things are being slipped through along with this?”

      Because you know it can’t just be an unalloyed good. The politician scum would never allow that.

  2. This is biggest less talked about issue for me for this upcoming election. Not that it looks like there will be anybody for me to vote for in the two big parties.

  3. its because they always have a deference to banning things and coercion

    1. If it isn’t in our control, how will we control it? If we can’t control it, how do we keep it from getting out of control?

      The mindset is very simple: If government authorities wanted deregulation, they wouldn’t be in government.

      1. Every generation wants its own new regulations. Plus all the old regulations.

        1. We may be just a few regulations away from paradise.

          1. Repealing one regulation may have unintended consequences. Enacting millions of new regulations won’t.

  4. IIRC, a major part of that export ban was because of the Alaska Oil Pipeline. It was argued that “Big Oil” would build “our” pipeline and then ship the oil to Japan or somewhere else that was willing to pay a higher price for “our oil.”

    I recall that as part of the public discussion, not sure if it eas mentioned in any enabling legislation.

    1. Also, the Jones Act requires it to be transported on US-flagged vessels with a union crew since it is transported from one US port to another.

      1. Yes, it is a sinkhole of bullshit.

  5. Meanwhile, oil is up 8% on the week–because domestic production has been cut so drastically.

    “President Obama opposes lifting the ban as do various Congressional Democrats. Why?”

    My first guess is because oil workers aren’t unionized like auto workers and so aren’t beneficiaries of his favoritism. And if saving them from being laid off by getting rid of a stupid export ban doesn’t do anything for the Democrats’ constituencies, why should they care?

    My second guess is that oil workers are quickly becoming like coal miners. Not only are they not a favored class, they’re hated because of the association of their industry with greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Why they’re the cause of the problem, doncha know! Saving their jobs? They’re lucky Obama isn’t demonizing them.

  6. Higher input prices for refiners will mean lower gasoline prices for consumers.

    In other news: higher minimum wages will mean more jobs for low-wage workers.

      1. The article is incoherent. There’s a glut of domestic oil which can’t be sold elsewhere, so if we make it possible to sell elsewhere, it will become less expensive. That’s nonsense.

  7. I expected more votes like this when Team Red got control of the Senate. Nothing will change, but it makes Mr. Lightworker attach his name to positions that he and his party may find uncomfortable later.

    1. The first glimpse of the post-Boehner era?

      1. Can we really call it the post-Boehner era before he leaves? Post-Cantor maybe?

  8. Well, Mr. President, if it really does not make sense to export oil, then it will not happen, even if there is no law preventing it.

    So just relax and have a glass of warm milk.

      1. That’s udderly ridiculas.

        1. The large curd is a hideous monument to farmer wilding.

    1. Great minds think alike.

    2. have a glass of warm milk

      Warm, artificially high-priced milk.

  9. It makes no sense to export our oil abroad when we still import millions of barrels of oil a day

    If that’s true, lifting the ban will make no difference. U.S. oil companies won’t do something that “makes no sense” just because.

    Or maybe this guy is just an idiot.

  10. The House has acted. So now it’s time for the Senate remove an export ban which is already 40 years past its sell-by date.

    Not to worry. McConnell will do whatever B. Hussein tells him to do.

  11. Not the next president


    1. “”You’re on Medicare and you want me to ignore the fact that its going broke, you’re not going to like me,” [Kasich] told the audience, adding later, “I’d rather have people be in a position where they’re aggravated with me so I can accomplish something, than have them love me and accomplish nothing, okay. I’m not there to run a popularity contest.””

      Numero uno, of course it’s a popularity contest, as he’ll find out when he *doesn’t* become President.

      Numero two-o, the only way this will be solved (if at all) is if the country goes into some kind of disaster whose effects are immediately obvious, and it has to be a disaster clearly linked to the entitlement problem.

      1. Wow. That doesn’t make Kasich sound half bad.

        Of course, it’s easy to be honest when you have no chance of winning.

        1. He also apparently insulted some college students. Something something Taylor Swift.

        2. Yes, but what does he think about concealed carry in the womb? THAT’S what really matters.

          1. For most women, it turns into open carry in the last few months. Some manage to pull it off until close to birth.

    2. “”We can’t balance a budget without entitlement reform. What are we, kidding?” Kasich said when asked about his opponents who say they won’t touch entitlements.”

      “[Kasich] asked them if they would be bothered if it were a little lower for the good of the country.

      One person said it would be a problem.

      “Well, you’d get over it, and you’re going to have to get over it,” Kasich joked.”

      Kasich just jumped up the good list in my books.

    1. Nice. I like the Molon Labe shirt too.

      1. I also ordered that!

        1. Sweet. I might tomorrow.

    2. A $24 t-shirt? Fancy fancy

      1. I’ll let you know when I donate it to Salvation Army to put it more in your price range.

        1. Uh, if you make it Goodwill Industries instead…um, let me know.

  12. Edward Markey doesn’t know jack about the upstream and downstream of the oil business.

    What difference does it make to consumers if Alaskan crude goes to Japanese and Chinese refineries and Californian and Texan refineries replace it with Mexican crude? The value of US exports would go up by more than the value of imports since Alaskan crude is more valuable than Mexican crude. US refineries are typically better equipped to handle relatively heavy, high sulfur Mexican crude than Asian refineries. Not only would the trade balance improve, but the value added by US refineries would improve. It’s a net gain for pretty much everybody — except for idiot politicians who want to demagogue their (rationally) ignorant voters.

  13. Open carry maybe coming to FL.


    1. Open carry is incredibly counterproductive.

      1. It depends on how it’s done. Carrying casually with the gun holstered while not drawing attention to yourself, and being generally polite is a great way to normalize the carry of firearms.

        It’s when dipshits start walking around with long guns carried in hand at low-port like they’re getting ready for a gun fight that it starts to be a problem…

      2. Maybe, but we finally got it here in Texas and I doubt its going to hurt the Rs at all. We also got campus carry.

        We had the super agressive morons parading into stores with their obnoxious long guns (already open carry unlike hand guns) and everyone said they were an embarrassment who would hurt the cause. Well they were an embarrassment but it all go passed anyways and by the time the legislature is in session in 2017 everyone will have moved on.

  14. Sometimes the only reasons these votes come up is so that they can pass one house, get a lot of publicity, and then get quietly buried in the other house. That way, the people who voted for the bill get to boast of it in their campaign ads, but they rely on the other house, or the President, to kill the bill for them.

    I’m not saying that’s what happened in this instance…

  15. Frat shut down over sex video

    I found the video. It’s not a sex video. It’s one girl and a bunch of shirtless/naked guys, and I think she may have one of them in some sort of scissor neck lock or something.

    Now Dare Dorm. That’s some sex videos. And 100% real, too. Or so I’ve been told.

    1. “I think she may have one of them in some sort of scissor neck lock or something.”

      I read that he was giving her oral sex so yeah it’s a sex video.

      1. It’s about as much of a sex video as something you might see on one of the racier FX shows.

        1. The controversy is that he tried to stop giving oral sex and got headlock-raped.

          If I were Dean, I would ban frats/sororities. D-bag hives have no place in my place of education.

          1. Is that actually what the controversy is about? I didn’t actually read the article, I just looked for the video (obviously).

            That’s…surprisingly balanced.

              1. Do you know where that stripper’s hoo-hah has been?!

          2. If I were Dean, I would start mass executions of all the progressives on campus. Faculty and staff too. Sadly, whenever I apply for university Dean positions and reveal my plan, it always sours things.

            Everyone always wants to put a crimp in my mirth.

            1. What would you do then, with an empty campus?

          3. If I were dean, I’d expel all Canadian Objectivists who sport war-boners from campus. D-Bags have no place in my place of education.

            1. How original and witty. Someone should give you a gold star.

              1. No, it was stupid and pathetic, kind of like the very first time it was uttered upthread.

                Freedom of association, motherfucker, do you grok it?

                1. I do, you don’t. A private organization doesn’t have to tolerate other private organizations on its property. Thing otherwise is, well, stupid and pathetic. Now might be a good time for you to go to bed.

                  1. Indiana University is a State university. It isn’t a private organization, and it doesn’t have the ability to bar student organizations from campus, you stupid fucking twat.

  16. Nope, the European refugees aren’t mostly young men or anything like that. Nope, not at all


    1. Be careful not to shit your pants too fast. You might blow right through your Depends.

    2. Oh no! Not young men! Those guys are the worst because of their…ability to work hard and contribute to the economy.

  17. First the Import Export Bank, next the oil reverse embargo? Libertarian Moment! At this rate it’ll only be 50 years until Ocare is repealed.

    1. Ex-Im isn’t dead-dead just yet. Turns out that Boeing and GE really like state largesse.

      1. Well we already knew that. Ex-Im seems to be down if not out.

      2. Import Export Bank would be a good thing if it’s benefits were capped low enough to make it useless for the majors.

        If it helped mom and pops to export value added production without taxpayer costs the benefits to the country could be noticeable.

        1. Nope – not the government’s job to take money from taxpayers and loan or grant it out to others. Go to a bank or venture capitalist like everyone else. If I want to lend you money, it will be on my terms, my risk and my reward.

        2. If it helped mom and pops to export value added production without taxpayer costs

          If it were “without taxpayer costs” there’d be no reason for the Ex-Im to give the loan. Mom and Pop could just get it from any private lender in the nation.

  18. “Obama Meets With Families of Oregon Shooting Victims Amid Pro-Gun Protests”
    “Mr. Obama’s visit to Roseburg stirred resentment among gun-rights advocates because of remarks the president made shortly after the shooting. Mr. Obama had said, “This is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.”
    But later, White House officials said Mr. Obama wasn’t seeking to politicize his visit to Roseburg.”

    Of COURSE he wasn’t! The check’s in the mail, too.

    1. Somebody should ask him ‘then why’d you go?’ Its not like the president is the nation’s official mourner. He doesn’t personally visit the families of dead service-members – and he has some causal connection to *that*.

      1. And the people of Roseburg seemingly made it clear that he wasn’t welcome, either.
        More’s the good on them.

  19. How so? Basically the fracking boom has so increased domestic production that it is right now outstripping refining capacity, thus enabling the bottlenecked refiners to buy domestic crude at discounted prices.

    OMG! You think the ‘food miles’ morons blather on stupidly about the ‘energy cost’ of food transport – wait until we’re exporting oil and importing *gasoline*.

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