Study favors U.S. crude exports

Associated Press file photo --Tractor-trailers line up for two miles to unload oil in November at a train terminal in Trenton, N.D. Energy companies behind the oil boom on the Northern Plains are increasingly turning to trains to move their crude to refineries across the U.S. Show caption
Associated Press file photo --Tractor-trailers line up for two miles to unload oil in November at a train terminal in Trenton, N.D. Energy companies behind the oil boom on the Northern Plains are increasingly turning to trains to move their crude to refineries across the U.S.

Allowing exports of U.S. crude would increase domestic oil production by roughly 40 percent, cut imports by $67 billion and help consumes by lowering gasoline prices, according to a report by data analysis firm IHS.

The report shows that the U.S. refinery system is nearing gridlock, as refiners reach their limit for processing the growing supply of light tight oil from shale formations.

Lifting the export ban would increase U.S. production from the current 8.2 million barrels per day to 11.2 million barrels per day, the report says. The increase in crude would lower gas prices an average of 8 cents per gallon.

“The combined savings for U.S. motorists during the 2016-2030 period would translate to $265 billion compared to a situation where the restrictive trade policy remains in place,” the report says.

U.S. gasoline is part of a globally traded market, which means domestic prices reflect global prices, the report says. The current energy policy discourages additional crude from being brought to market and actually makes gas prices higher than they would be otherwise.