Since the 1970’s the United States has placed a ban on exporting crude oil. Enacted during an era of oil shocks and energy shortages nearly a half-century ago, the ban makes little sense in today’s rapidly changing world. Moreover, given America’s status as one of the world’s leading producers of crude oil thanks to innovation in the energy sector, this antiquated, big government ban only hinders the growth of America’s energy potential. 

Thankfully we’re seeing movement on Capitol Hill to do just that. This past month, the House voted 261-159 on legislation that would repeal the ban on crude oil exports. Democrats and Republicans joined together and voted to end the policy that has restricted America’s energy sector for far too long.  Now it is the Senate’s turn to pass common-sense legislation that has united lawmakers, the private sector, academics and taxpayers.


Junking this obsolete policy would be a boon to economic growth and job creators. The current export ban prevents further growth and participation in the global energy market. Countless studies from non-partisan think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution  all conclude that the outdated status quo is, well, outdated.. NERA economic consulting highlighted that repeal could inject between $200 billion and $1.8 trillion into the economy and unemployment could drop by at least 200,000 between 2015 and 2020. Getting rid of the ban represents a good step in ensuring America’s energy leadership in the world.  

Although there is often little that Republicans and Democrats agree on in Washington, a bi-partisan consensus has emerged in support of lifting the export ban. Rep. Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), for example, recently noted that lifting the ban is “an important part of increasing economic growth and creating jobs for New Mexico families.” 

Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), a Republican and Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sounded a similar note, adding “creating jobs, keeping energy affordable, boosting energy production, and improving our energy security- these are all important to folks in Michigan….” Even outside groups have been supportive as dozens of free market organizations signed a coalition letter urging Congress to lift the ban. 

The Senate is well-positioned to move this legislation given that it enjoys bi-partisan support in the upper chamber. Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiAnti-Trump Republicans endorsing vulnerable Democrats to prevent GOP takeover GOP rallies around Manchin, Sinema McConnell gets GOP wake-up call MORE (R-Alaska), chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee has introduced legislation and held hearings extolling the virtues of ending the ban. North Dakota Democrat, Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWashington's oldest contact sport: Lobbyists scrum to dilute or kill Democrats' tax bill Progressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight Business groups aim to divide Democrats on .5T spending bill MORE, who voted in support of repealing ban when it was marked up in committee said “there is a strong willingness in Congress to lift the outdated ban on exporting U.S. oil” and encouraged fellow members to get behind the effort. With the House having acted, it’s now up to the Senate to advance this legislation and fuel economic growth and job creation in America’s energy industry. 

Fletcher is a policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity.