Washington Post calls for crude oil exports

The Washington Post has endorsed the call for crude oil exports, saying the United States’ policy of banning exports is outdated.

A 1970s law was meant to protect oil markets amid price spikes caused by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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In a Thursday editorial, the Post argued the United States is developing historically high volumes of light oil, but its refineries were built for heavy oil.

“In the deeply interconnected global oil market, in which borders matter less than many people think, the obvious solution is to allow oil companies to ship the light crude to refineries suited for processing it, supporting U.S. profits and U.S. jobs in the process, and to tolerate imports of crude oil that U.S. refineries can handle,” the Post wrote.

The Post said exports would also be good for energy security and would reduce gasoline prices domestically.

“Keeping [the ban] in place now is an economically incoherent policy, particularly when removing it would encourage an industry that is transforming the fortunes of large swaths of the nation,” the newspaper said.

The editorial came the week after a tanker ship left Texas for South Korea with $40 million of oil condensate, a lightly processed form of oil, on board. It was the first oil export since the ban took effect, enabled by a Commerce Department determination that condensate does not fall under the ban.

The Post called for Congress to completely overturn the ban. But until then, it asked the Commerce Department to allow as much oil to be exported as possible under the existing law.