The U.S. ban on exporting oil may not live to see its 40th birthday.
There’s growing momentum to kill the restriction and a deal could be reached before the end of the year as part of a broader spending and tax bill that’s making its way through Congress.
Proponents argue the restriction is terribly outdated. It was signed into law on December 22, 1975 when the OPEC oil embargo created a shortage that slammed the American economy with skyrocketing prices.
Today, the world has too much oil — thanks largely to the American shale oil boom. That’s why crude oil prices have crashed below $35 a barrel and a gallon of gasoline is on the verge of falling below $2 per gallon.
In other words, there is no longer an oil scarcity that justifies keeping it at home. In fact there’s too much of it.
“Restrictions on free trade of energy are a legacy of a bygone era that doesn’t reflect the realities of today,” said Jason Bordoff, a former energy adviser to President Obama who testified on Capitol Hill about this issue.