Energy & Environment

Oil exports would raise gas prices, study says

A study commissioned by a group opposed to exporting crude oil found that ending the decades-old ban would raise gasoline prices.

The study by Alan Stevens, president of consulting firm Stancil & Co., predicted an average gas price increase of 8.4 cents to 14.5 cents per gallon if domestic oil producers are allowed to ship their products overseas.

{mosads}The conclusions clash with those of oil companies who support the ban, along with other business groups and independent researchers.

“Allowing the export of crude would cause domestic gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, and heating oil prices to increase,” the study found, in addition to other negative impacts like increasing the United States’ trade imbalance.

The research was commissioned by Consumers and Refiners United for Domestic Energy, or CRUDE, an ad-hoc group of independent refiners who are lobbying to keep the 40-year-old export ban.

It comes the day before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee could start considering a bill sponsored by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) to end the ban.

“This study clearly demonstrates that exporting U.S. crude will raise prices at the pump,” Jay Hauck, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.

“This report is a holistic and thorough analysis of energy markets, which shows that American consumers and businesses will take a major hit if Congress lifts export restrictions,” he said. “This is more evidence that Congress should think long and hard before rushing to change our 40-year-old energy independence law.”

Producers for American Crude Oil Exports, or PACE, has come to different conclusions.

The ad-hoc group says gasoline prices would actually decline if oil were exported, in addition to benefits like more jobs, more economic growth and better national security.

In responding to CRUDE’s study, PACE said its main problem is its assumption that domestic crude oil prices determine the cost of gasoline and other refined products.

The oil producers’ group cites research from the Energy Information Administration, the Government Accountability Office and elsewhere to say that CRUDE’s incorrect assumption invalidates the rest of its analysis.

— This story was updated at 4:45 p.m.

Tags Heidi Heitkamp Lisa Murkowski oil oil exports

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