A recent study conducted by the Brookings Institution – a non-profit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions – found that lifting the current ban on the export of crude oil could add between $600 billion and $1.8 trillion to the U.S. economy.
The study also cited a resulting increase in the country’s gasoline supply, which would lead to a reduction in the price at the pumps by an estimated 9 to 12 cents per gallon for a period of five years.
In addition, modeling conducted by National Economic Research Associates indicates that the elimination of the ban would have a significant impact on the U.S. job market – lowering unemployment numbers by as much as 200,000 every year in between 2015 and 2020.
Many experts believe domestic oil production could also be affected by changing export policies. In recent years U.S. oil output has spiked due to advancements in drilling technology, which have allowed producers to access product in tight shale formations across the country (e.g., Bakken, Eagle Ford, Permian).
With no ban in place, however, production in these regions would likely rise even further, leading to higher royalty payments from oil companies and more severance tax revenue.
Introduced by Congress in 1975 as part of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, the export ban was a response to the Arab oil embargo. It was originally implemented in an effort to avoid price spikes and ensure market stability but in more recent years as U.S. oil production has boomed, pressure on federal government to lift the ban has greatly increased.
Researchers at Brookings remain adamant that the quicker the ban is lifted, the greater and more positive impact it will have on the U.S. economy.