As previously discussed on this blog, there has been much debate lately over whether the U.S. should lift its 40+ year ban on exporting crude oil. Proponents of the argument believe that it will create additional jobs, stimulate the U.S. economy, enhance the U.S.’ trade balance, and lower prices. Many feel that the trade embargo, which was initiated in 1973, is outdated and are calling for the Obama administration to respond. Proponents believe that the embargo was issued at a time when crude oil was much more precious of a commodity than it is today. Also part of proponents’ arguments is that there are several markets worldwide that the U.S. has an opportunity to tap into. Advocates of lifting the ban are seeking a happy medium where, ideally, the U.S. would at the very least, export to Mexico.
The ban can only be lifted by the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, but also has to be approved by Congress. Many experts feel that the Obama administration is more interested in maintaining the status quo than making drastic changes and that any real action is likely a few years away. Opponents of lifting the ban believe that doing so would not necessarily lower domestic oil prices because the situation is a lot more complicated than that.
While it may be some time before the U.S. Government seriously considers lifting the ban, for the time being, the discussion is certainly getting louder. It remains to be seen just how long proponents will have to wait.