The ban on crude oil exports is a relic of a bygone era of energy policy. In 1975, our country was reeling from an economic recession, a recession that was largely propelled by the Arab oil embargo of 1973. Fears of the Cold War, global unrest in the Middle East, and fears that the world’s oil reserves were running dry were on everyone’s minds. As a result, Congress enacted the Energy Policy Conservation Act of 1975, signed into law by President Ford on Dec. 22. As we approach its 40th birthday, it’s time to kick this outdated law over the hill.

The energy policies resulting from the Arab oil embargo were based on the premise that America was running out of energy, and thus the energy we had needed to be used only in the U.S. Price controls and allocations enforced this policy of scarcity. At the time the United States had little ability to export oil, and those who opposed the ban or those who even knew it existed had limited political will to overturn it.

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Today’s energy landscape is vastly different. The United States is a leading energy producer, bordering on superpower status. We have an abundance of energy, and the best technology to boot. We can compete and win in the world marketplace. All of the 70s policies have been repealed, except for the ban on crude oil exports. It’s time to repeal that outdated ban too!  

Lifting the ban will create American jobs. These aren’t just energy jobs, but jobs across the supply chain. According to numerous studies, allowing oil exports would create up to 964,000 jobs over time; these are good paying jobs in every state of the union.

Lifting the ban will boost domestic oil production, perhaps by millions of barrels of oil a day.  The increased oil production will compete head to head with Russian and OPEC oil in the world market place, bringing billions of dollars back into the U.S.

Lifting the ban should also lower gasoline prices for all Americans. Studies estimate that gas prices could go down as much as 13 cents per gallon, as noted in a recent GAO report. That’s real savings for households. But no study shows gasoline prices going up if we lift the ban on crude oil exports.

Lifting the ban will increase energy security. This legislation would provide energy security to our allies, who would now have the option of buying American crude. Crude exports will challenge the OPEC and Russian market share on energy abroad, adding to the diplomatic tools at our disposal. President Obama has fought to allow Iran to export their crude oil, but does not support free trade for our producers. Why would we put America at a competitive disadvantage to the Iranians or any other nation?

Lifting the ban will lower our national debt. Revenue receipts from increased production and exports will put money back in the Treasury and help set America on a course to balance the budget.

As far as legislation goes, this is a grand slam. Today the House will vote on this measure, and we urge our colleagues to support it. This is a rare legislative opportunity in today’s environment, a bill supported by labor and industry, Republicans and Democrats, and benefits producers and consumers alike. Our mission is simple: improve the lives of Americans at home and enhance our standing in the world. Lifting the ban on crude exports does both.

Barton has represented Texas’ 6th Congressional District since 1985. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Cuellar has represented Texas’ 28th Congressional District since 2005. He sits on the Appropriations Committee.