The Facts

Studies | Facts and Myths | Timeline


An abundance of analysis has recently emerged on the positive impacts of repealing the crude oil exports ban. The following reports have been released in 2014 on the subject:

  • In March 2014, Resources for the Future released a report, titled “Crude Behavior: How Lifting the Export Ban Reduces Gasoline Prices in the United States”;

  • On May 9, ICF International released a report, titled “The Impacts of U.S. Crude Oil Exports on Domestic Crude Production, GDP, Employment, Trade, and Consumer Costs”;

  • On May 29, IHS released a report, “U.S. Crude Oil Export Decision: Assessing the Impact of the Export Ban and Free Trade on the U.S. Economy”;

  • On September 9, Brookings and NERA Economic Consulting released “Changing Markets: Economic Opportunities from Lifting the U.S. Ban on Crude Oil Exports”;

  • On October 14, The Aspen Institute and the MAPI Foundation issued a report, “Lifting the Crude Oil Export Ban: The Impact on U.S. Manufacturing”;

  • On October 20, the Government Accountability Office released a study, “CHANGING CRUDE OIL MARKETS: Allowing Exports Could Reduce Consumer Fuel Prices, and the Size of the Strategic Reserves Should Be Reexamined”;

  • In January 2015, Columbia University‘s Center on Global Energy Policy released a report, “Navigating the U.S. Oil Export Debate”.


Facts and Myths



A Peak in U.S. Crude Oil Production

Source: The Wall Street Journal

After remaining the world’s largest oil producer from 1870 to 1970, 20th Century domestic oil production peaked in 1971, making Marion King Hubbert’s 1956 prediction that U.S. oil production would permanently decline after peaking in about 1970 seem accurate. His theory, however, did not include consideration of the impact of technological advances, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

OPEC Oil Embargo

Source: U.S. Department of State

In light of the Arab-Israeli War (October 6-25, 1973), OPEC countries imposed an embargo on nations supporting Israel, including the United States. OPEC banned petroleum exports to embargoed nations and cut oil production. These actions deeply impacted public opinion in the United States.

U.S. Bans Crude Oil Exports

Source: Reuters

Source: International Business Times

Within a month of the 1973 Oil Embargo, the U.S. federal government began to enact controls to limit crude oil exports. Over the next five years, the government deepened crude export controls by requiring the president to prohibit crude exports unless he deemed they were in the national interest.

President Reagan Modifies Ban

Source: Bloomberg

In June 1985, President Reagan approved limited exports to Canada, determining this was in the national interest. In November 1985, the Commerce Department expanded this exception to allow exports from production in Alaska’s Cook Inlet.

President Bush Expands Exceptions to Ban

Source: Bloomberg

In October 1992, President Bush pushed for the export of 25,000 barrels per day of heavy-crude from California, which was approved by the Commerce Department in 1995.

President Clinton Further Amends Band

Source: Los Angeles Times

In April 1996, President Clinton issued a finding to allow exports of crude from the Alaskan North Slope, which travels through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

George Mitchell Unlocks Shale Petroleum Reserves

Source: The New York Times

Texas oil and natural gas pioneer George Mitchell combined horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing to successfully fracture shale rock formations in fields where production had previously only occurred at shallower depths.

Drilling Begins at the Eagle Ford Shale

Source: Los Angeles Times

The 2008 discovery of the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas catalyzed a domestic oil production renaissance, doubling oil production in the state within two years. By 2015, Texas is expected to become the fifth-biggest oil producer in the world.

U.S. Becomes World’s Largest Oil Producer

Source: Bloomberg

For the first time, the United States is surpassing the production rates of Saudi Arabia and Russia, producing in excess of 11 million barrels a day in the first quarter of 2014.

The Commerce Department Approves Condensate Exports

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The Commerce Department granted two oil shipping companies permission to export condensate, a type of ultralight oil, from Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale to foreign buyers.