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Policy Pathways

Policy Priorities to Continue U.S. Energy Progress

Natural gas and oil power America’s 21st-century economy, strengthen our nation’s security and support U.S. global leadership in reducing greenhouse gases.

The U.S. is No. 1 in the world in natural gas and oil production – thanks to abundant reserves and today’s modern, technologically advanced industry.

Now is no time for turning back. To grow American energy leadership, we must look to the future and prepare for projections that global energy demand will rise with policies that support safe, responsible domestic natural gas and oil production. The following pages describe forward-looking polices that will foster sound, well-managed development that benefits American families, creates opportunity and helps secure our country well into the future.

Expand U.S. Energy Infrastructure

Energy Infratructure pipe welder

To keep pace with rising energy demand, over $1 Trillion is needed for infrastructure investments through 2035

API RP 1173, Pipeline Safety Management Systems: helps pipeline operators benefit from a safety management system (SMS) and systematically manage pipeline safety and measure progress to improve overall performance

Delivering affordable, reliable energy

U.S. energy infrastructure, including pipelines, export terminals and ports, is a complex and extensive network that seamlessly delivers energy to consumers.

Pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to transport natural gas and petroleum for everyday use. Over the past five years, liquids pipeline mileage increased by nearly 12% to accommodate America’s energy production growth. Infrastructure expansion will ensure that our abundant, homegrown energy reaches American households, businesses and U.S. trading partners.

Increasing efficiency, transparency and certainty in federal permitting is essential to aligning smart regulations with responsible and timely investment in necessary projects.

For example, modernizing the National Environmental Policy Act’s (NEPA) maze of permitting rules is necessary to the sustainable development of the nation’s vast energy resources.

Support American Energy Development

Policy: Offshore and Onshore Access

2.37 million Acres of parks, forests, and recreation areas in 50 States federally funded primarily by offshore energy royalties

API RP-75, Recommended Practice for Development of a Safety and Environmental Management Program for Offshore Operations and Facilities: ifoundational offshore safety and environmental management standard that reflects state-of-the-art systems to drive safety and environmental protection in offshore operations

Access To Energy Key To Security

With global energy demand projected to increase more than 45% by 2050, access to energy is more important than ever. Safe and responsible production in the U.S., including on federal lands onshore and offshore, is critical for a reliable, affordable and cleaner energy mix. In addition, investments in natural gas and oil support communities by contributing to lower household energy costs, more jobs, and greater state revenue for education and public projects.  

The federal government should expand offshore natural gas and oil leasing opportunities to promote continued domestic production since offshore natural gas and oil reserves can take over 10 years to develop and will help to secure our country’s long-term security.  

Transparent, streamlined and expedited federal permitting processes are necessary for the timely review of natural gas and oil production – which in turn promotes economic growth for local communities, investments in parks, roads, and schools, and good-paying jobs.  

Remove U.S. Trade Barriers and Open Global Markets


In 2019, the U.S. produced 12 Million barrels of oil per day

89,000 barrels of oil per day in U.S. Exports

Free Trade Agreements Support U.S. Jobs and Investments

Free-trade agreements like the USMCA – that eliminate tariffs, create energy trading zones, and protect U.S. energy investments in other countries – help open markets for the American natural gas and oil industry, boosting domestic production and job growth. Provisions in free-trade agreements, including the elimination of tariffs on products, create a level playing field for the U.S., which enables greater energy trade and investment all around. That benefits energy consumers and energy security for the U.S. and our partner countries in these agreements.

Policymakers and regulators must insist on international agreements that strengthen free market energy trading relationships between the U.S. and the rest of the world, coupled with domestic policies that allow for exports to the global market.

This includes de-escalating trade disputes with China and other nations that take America in the wrong direction. The U.S. needs to de-escalate the trade war with China: through commitments that remove U.S. tariffs that still remain on hundreds of industrial components that are used in the U.S. natural gas and oil industry and that remove retaliatory Chinese tariffs against U.S. exports of crude oil, LNG, and chemicals products. And the U.S. needs to remove tariffs on imports of specialty steel used in the American natural gas and oil industry that we import from our allies, working together rather than against our allies to address the unfair trade practices of other nations. Trade wars block American progress and the global competitiveness of the U.S. natural gas and oil industry.

The U.S. recently became a net exporter of energy for the first time since the 1950s – a milestone that brings with it a slew of economic benefits, including lower energy prices and renewed investment in resource development, processing, and transportation.

These exports strengthen America’s standing as a world energy superpower and create opportunities for the U.S. to use its energy to alleviate poverty and reduce emissions around the world. Going forward, policies should support additional export capacity, which will help meet expected growth in global energy demand, boost energy trade, spur domestic production, and grow the economy.

Level the Playing Field for Transportation


80% of all federal EV subsidies have gone to individuals making $100,000 or more

E15 and other higher ethanol volume fuels can damage:

  • Boat engines
  • Outdoor power equipment
  • Vehicle engines
  • Motorcycle engines

API Standards [ILSAC GF-6A, GF-6B and API SP]: improved performance standards for engine oils that will provide greater protection and fuel efficiency for today’s gasoline-engine-powered cars and trucks

Protecting U.S. Consumers

Consumer-friendly transportation policies require a free-market approach to ensure a level-playing field for all Americans. Government mandates and subsidies harm consumers by unfairly disrupting market decisions.

For example, biofuel mandates distort the marketplace to use products that can damage vehicles, while electric vehicle (EV) tax credits subsidize upper-income households purchasing luxury vehicles at the expense of taxpayers.

The Renewable Fuel Standard’s (RFS) objective of reducing crude oil imports is obsolete given growing domestic oil production, and its goal of producing commercially viable cellulosic biofuel has never materialized. Today, about 70% of vehicles on the road weren’t designed to run on E15 fuel, per manufacturers’ manuals, and no boats, small engines or motorcycles can use the product. The outdated ethanol mandates puts consumers at risk by incentivizing higher ethanol blends in the fuel supply.

Electric vehicles can and should coexist with internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV) on our roadways in a vibrant, free market. However, subsidies for EV purchases disproportionately advantage upper-income households, and many federal and state transportation policies exempt EV owners from paying their fair share for road maintenance and repair. Those same households also get assistance by having the EV charging infrastructure paid for by electricity rate payers regardless of whether they own an EV or not.

Fuel policies should safeguard consumers against unfair subsidies and mandates that do not harm all U.S. consumers.

Adopt Climate Solutions


$108 billion invested in greenhouse gas mitigating technologies between 2000-2016

API RP 50, Natural Gas Processing Plant Practices for Protection of the Environment: for natural gas processing to help companies reduce methane and other greenhouse gas emissions

Api engages on climate policy from a principled approach and supports bipartisan legislation to incentivize research and development of ccus, including the use it act (s. 383) And the leading act (s. 1685)

Investing in a Cleaner Energy Future

The U.S. natural gas and oil industry is laser-focused on delivering affordable, reliable, and ever-cleaner energy to businesses and consumers around the world.

The increased use of natural gas in power generation, industry’s leadership and continuous innovation, and creation of state-of-the-art standards have driven U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to their lowest levels in a generation, even as global emissions are on the rise.

Now that the U.S. is the world’s leading producer and a net exporter, cleaner natural gas is more readily available in areas that experience energy poverty – reducing global emissions, raising standards of living, and supporting the uptake of renewable energy.

API and its members commit to delivering solutions that reduce the risks of climate change while meeting society’s growing energy needs. We support global action that drives greenhouse gas emissions reductions and economic development.

The natural gas and oil industry is part of the global solution and plays a vital role in developing and deploying technologies and products that continue to reduce GHG emissions while advancing human and economic prosperity and that are essential to extending the benefits of modern life to all.

Unlock Innovation and Cultivate Partnerships

Emissions Inspector

67% decline in methane emissions relative to production, 2011 – 2018, in five of the major producing areas.

Since 1990, methane emissions from natural gas systems nationally have dropped 14% while natural gas production has increased more than 50%.

Energy Progress is Not Done Alone

It has always been a mixture of industry leadership, opportunities to innovate, and partnerships with the best minds – from academia to government scientists, such as those in U.S. national labs. The natural gas and oil industry’s continued advancement of engineering technologies over time, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, benefit the nation’s economic strength and energy security.

Constant innovation, smart regulations, collaborative efforts, and industry initiatives, help to ensure that industry is providing affordable and reliable energy to consumers, while reducing its environmental footprint and emissions.

For instance, The Environmental Partnership, which is comprised of companies in the U.S. oil and natural gas industry committed to continuously improving the industry’s environmental performance, serves as a model of industry leadership. The U.S. leads the world in producing natural gas and oil and is committed to reducing emissions relative to production in basins across the country.

API works to constantly evaluate and strengthen industry standards to drive progress in safety, environmental protection, and efficiency across the industry. API’s Global Industry Services (GIS) drives safe production globally through critical partnerships, including signing four memoranda of understanding (MOU) with international parties and working with emerging nations on standards adoption.

Additionally, API partners with energy trade associations around the world to cultivate partnerships focused on global sustainability. We work together with associations including IPIECA and IOGP to convene and produce standards and guidance that our member companies use globally to conduct operations in a safe, environmentally responsible manner that is responsive to communities around us.

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