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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Yes, Lift the Crude Oil Exports Ban

energy exports  us crude oil production  economic benefits  government revenues  conocophillips  gasoline prices 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 20, 2015

The case for lifting the 1970s-era ban on U.S. crude oil exports, in a nutshell: 

The ban is a relic of the past, of an era when the U.S. was producing less and less of its own oil and importing more and more of oil produced by others. Crude exports would add to global crude supplies, putting downward pressure on the cost of crude. A number of studies project that lifting the export ban would lower domestic gasoline prices. Exports would stimulate domestic production, protecting U.S. jobs and creating more in the future. Exports would strengthen U.S. economic power that underlies American global influence.

There are more reasons, more details to the affirmative export case, a number of which were aired at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing this week. In its totality, it’s a strong, strong case.

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Rhetoric vs. Action – Exports Edition

crude oil production  exports  trade  economic benefits  gasoline prices  president obama  congress 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 23, 2015

Earlier this month, then-White House advisor John Podesta said the Obama administration is unlikely to do more on the U.S. crude oil export ban beyond the Commerce Department’s recent effort to clarify the rules for exporting ultra-light crude known as condensates. Podesta told Reuters:

“At this stage, I think that what the Commerce Department did in December sort of resolves the debate. We felt comfortable with where they went. If you look at what's going on in the market and actions that the Department took, I think that ... there's not a lot of pressure to do more.”

It’s a strange conclusion given the weight of scholarship that says America’s 1970s ban on crude exports should be lifted – to spur domestic production, create jobs and put downward pressure on U.S. gasoline prices. It also would solve a growing mismatch between supplies of light sweet domestic crude and a refinery sector that’s largely configured to handle heavier crudes. ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance, speaking recently at the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

“(The condensates decision is) a help. … I question whether we’ll ever grow to a million barrels a day of condensate production, so it helps, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t answer the issue that we’re going to have coming at us as a nation … crude that our refineries cannot refine. So it’s a help, but by no stretch does it solve the problem. We have to address the bigger issue.”  

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The Possibilities of Resilient American Energy

us energy  gasoline prices  crude oil  exports  trade  economic benefits  oil and natural gas production  keystone xl pipeline  fracking  regulation 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 16, 2015

Bloomberg: Ending restrictions on U.S. crude exports could cut gasoline prices as much as 12 cents a gallon, a Columbia University study co-written by a former adviser to President Barack Obama has concluded.

Without the partial ban, domestic production might increase as much as 1.2 million barrels a day by 2025, making the U.S. more resilient to global supply disruptions, according to the study.

“Easing energy export restrictions does not raise gasoline prices for consumers,” Jason Bordoff, a former energy and climate adviser to Obama who is now director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, said in a telephone interview.

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Needed: Sound All-of-the-Above Energy Policies

american energy  policy  fracking  climate change  gasoline prices  new york  keystone xl pipeline 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted January 15, 2015

President Obama is doing a two-step when it comes to fossil fuels. Obama and White House officials clear their throats by praising the oil and gas boom, and even taking a measure of credit for it, before moving on to the specific topic at hand. There has been a surge in domestic oil and gas production. Gasoline prices keep falling. The natural-gas boom has helped the manufacturing sector. And the combination of oil-production increases and low prices has boosted the U.S.'s foreign policy leverage against petro-states.

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Energy Output, Supply and Consumer Benefits

american energy  gasoline  price  fracking  keystone xl 

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted January 12, 2015

Bloomberg: Drivers paid an average of $2.2021 a gallon for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps last week, the lowest level for this time of year since 2009, according to Lundberg Survey Inc. Prices dropped 26.92 cents in the three-week period to Jan. 9 and are $1.14 a gallon below year-ago levels, according to the survey, which is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, California-based company.

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2014 in Energy Charts

access  crude  crude markets  domestic energy  e15  economic benefits  emissions  energy regulation  epa  fracking  gasoline prices  global markets  horizontal drilling  hydraulic fracturing  methane emissions  offshore access  oil and natural gas development  ozone  regulation  renewable fuel standard 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 31, 2014

So long, 2014. From an energy standpoint, you’ll be missed. Let’s count the ways:

Surging domestic oil and natural gas production – largely thanks to safe hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – is driving an American energy revolution that’s creating jobs here at home and greater security for the United States in the world.

It’s a revolution with macro-economic and geopolitical impacts, for sure. But it’s also a revolution that’s benefit virtually every American.

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Energy is Making America Stronger

gasoline prices  hydraulic fracturing  fracking  horizontal drilling  imports  oil and natural gas production  new york 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 29, 2014

The Week: One of the biggest stories of 2014 has been the astonishing drop in global oil prices. The price of the benchmark Brent crude went from over $100 per barrel at the beginning of the year to the $60 range as of this writing.

It's worth noting how massive and completely unexpected this price drop has been.

And it's worth noting how good it is for the U.S. economy. The price of oil is one of the biggest drags on consumer demand, the largest driver of the economy.

And to what do we owe this miraculous event?

In a word: fracking.

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The Gift

american energy  oil and natural gas production  gasoline prices  domestic production  imports  fossil fuels  economic benefits  hydraulic fracturing  horizontal drilling  shale energy 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 24, 2014

The gift that is American energy is seen in some key numbers: domestic crude oil production reaching more than 9 million barrels per day last month, the highest level in more than two decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA); total U.S. net imports of energy as a share of energy consumption falling to their lowest level in nearly 30 years during the first six months of this year; gasoline prices dropping to an average of $2.47 per gallon last week, their lowest point since May 2009, according to the Lundberg Survey Inc.

The first two numbers might not fully register with a lot of Americans. We’ll come back to them. The last one, gasoline prices, does so loudly.

Retail gasoline prices fell after crude oil prices dropped for the fourth straight week – a product of weaker-than-expected global demand and increasing production, which EIA says will save American households $550 next year, Bloomberg News reports. Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey to Bloomberg:

“It is a dramatic boon to fuel consumers. (Gasoline) is a modest portion of our giant gross domestic product and yet it does have a pervasive and festive benefit to motorists.”

During this season of gift-giving and receiving, Americans should give thanks for the gifts of plentiful domestic oil and natural gas, modern technologies to harness them and an industry robust and innovative enough to bring the two together, resulting in surging, home-grown production. Indeed, the dramatic increase in U.S. oil production is the key addition to global supply that’s putting downward pressure on the cost of crude, the No. 1 factor in pump prices.

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Putting the Brakes on Chicago’s E15 Mandate

e15  ethanol in gasoline  renewable fuel standard  rfs34  consumers  engine safety  economic impacts 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 16, 2014

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his allies on the city council deserve credit for putting a stop – for now at least – to an ill-conceived proposal that would mandate the sale of higher ethanol blend E15 fuel at city service stations.

We say ill-conceived because, as argued here and here earlier this year, the E15 requirement could be full of risk for consumers and small business owners – while mainly benefiting ethanol producers. Recently, AAA urged Chicago lawmakers to vote against the ordinance.

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RFS Dysfunction on Display

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  epa  ethanol in gasoline  blend wall  e85  flexible fuel vehicles 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 12, 2014

Things got pretty bumpy for Janet McCabe, EPA's acting air chief, during her House subcommittee appearance this week, where she talked about the agency's failure to issue 2014 ethanol use requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

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