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Record Petroleum Exports Drive High Prices for Consumers

President Biden: Use Your Authority to Limit Petroleum Exports to Protect American Pocketbooks and the Climate

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Record exports of U.S produced petroleum are directly leading to higher prices for American families, according to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal. The report comes eight years after Public Citizen’s Tyson Slocum warned Congress in testimony before the House Committee on Small Business, that allowing unfettered petroleum exports “will erode surplus domestic stockpiles, and allow domestic oil producers to sell oil oversees for higher prices than what they are able to charge domestically. This will result in higher gasoline prices for U.S. motorists and small businesses.”

The 2015 law that repealed the crude oil export ban contained an important safety valve: Section 101 states that “The President may impose export licensing requirements or other restrictions on the export of crude oil from the United States for a period of not more than 1 year, if the President declares a national emergency and formally notices the declaration of a national emergency in the Federal Register.”

In response to today’s report, Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s energy program, issued the following statement:

“In 2015 congressional testimony, I warned that repealing 40-year old restrictions on exporting oil would raise gasoline prices for families and small businesses―and unfortunately this is happening today. It’s time for the President to act, declare an emergency on behalf of working families, and limit exports of petroleum.

“Record oil and natural gas exports have re-aligned the U.S. fossil fuel industry to prioritize maximizing profit for international markets, turning them away from serving the American consumer or providing energy independence. They cannot be relied upon to deliver affordable energy, as their calls to expand production will only fuel exports and drive domestic prices higher.

“Then-President George W. Bush’s 2006 warning that America’s “addiction to oil” is the root of a much larger problem. Record exports incentivize more domestic fracking, which exacerbate the climate crisis. Our continued demand for oil―particularly in the transportation sector―must be curbed. Hundreds of billions of dollars of investment must be made to provide working families with affordable and reliable alternatives to gasoline-powered cars. Expanding access to mass transit must be a priority, as well as accelerating the construction of infrastructure for electric vehicles.”