Friday, the House of Representative will vote on HR 702, legislation lifting the ban on U.S. crude oil exports. The ban is a relic of the energy crisis of the 1970’s and is out of step with the current boom in domestic petroleum production.
The crude oil from the American fracking revolution is not the optimum crude for domestic refineries. More gasoline will be produced in U.S. refineries at lower cost if we export domestically produced, light, low sulfur crude and import the crude oils our refineries handle most efficiently. More transportation fuels could be produced at lower cost, and prices at the pump for American consumers would actually go down. This will be good for motorists, for airlines, and for the economy.
Supporting American jobs and holding down consumer costs are objectives of the comprehensive American Energy Renaissance Act (HR 1487) that I introduced along with Senator Ted Cruz in 2013 and again in 2015. Title I of that Act would repeal the ban on crude oil exports and repeals presidential authority to restrict oil exports.
Some have criticized the provision in HR 702 that increases funding for the Maritime Security Program (MSP). The MSP is a program that was established in 1996 to assure the availability of vessels to transport U.S. military personnel and materiel. Eighty percent of the personnel and materiel transported to and from Iraq and Afghanistan were shipped using the MSP program. The alternative to MSP would be for the U.S. military to maintain a fleet of some 60 transport vessels. In fact this program is a huge money saver and essential for national security. It can be understood as “Zip Car for military transport” – pay a fee and have on-demand access to a fleet of vessels.
I fully support lifting the ban on U.S. crude oil exports, and I will vote Yes on HR 702.