For 40 years, the federal government has prohibited the American energy sector from exporting more than a tiny fraction of domestically produced crude… Selling American crude on the international market would boost domestic production while spurring economic growth at home and around the world.
When President Gerald Ford signed the ban into law, the nation was still reeling from the fuel shortages of the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo. By keeping American crude off the international market, the ban was intended to prevent a future crisis. But as those of us who remember the gasoline shortages of the late 1970s can attest, it didn’t work.
Four decades later, the policy makes even less sense. Thanks to the so-called shale revolution, the United States has been the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas for three years running.
Against this backdrop, the fears of oil shortages that motivated the export ban seem quaint. But this ’70s-era policy isn’t merely anachronistic. It’s holding back both our energy sector and the economy.
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