Oct 20, 2014 - 6:00pm

GAO: Lifting Oil Export Ban Will Mean Lower Gas Prices

Senior Editor, Digital Content


Green gas pump handle.
Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that lifting the oil export ban will mean lower fuel prices for families, truck drivers, airlines, and other fuel consumers:

[A]llowing crude oil exports would increase world supplies of crude oil, which is expected to reduce international prices and, subsequently, lower consumer fuel prices.

The GAO finds that consumer fuel prices—like gasoline—are determined on world markets:

A decrease in consumer fuel prices could occur because they tend to follow international crude oil prices rather than domestic crude oil prices, according to the studies and most of the stakeholders. If domestic crude oil exports caused international crude oil prices to decrease, consumer fuel prices could decrease as well.

Adam Sieminsk, administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, came to a similar conclusion when he told Platts Energy Week TV, “Preliminary evidence suggests that gasoline prices get set in the global markets."

In addition, GAO finds that lifting the ban will help the economy:

Removing export restrictions is expected to increase the size of the economy, with implications for employment, investment, public revenue, and trade. For example, removing restrictions is expected to contribute to further declines in net crude oil imports, reducing the U.S. trade deficit.

Other studies that have come out recently also show that ending the oil export ban will be an economic plus:

  • An Aspen Institute study found that lifting the ban would put “modest” downward pressure on gasoline prices.
  • An IHS study found that opening export markets to U.S. crude will mean $746 billion in new investment, additional 1.2 million barrels per day of oil would be produced annually, and 394,000 additional jobs per year from 2016-2030.

[H/t The Hill]

About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.