Much of the new crude oil production in United States is light sweet crude oil. Most domestic refiners can process heavy crude. Lifting the ban would provide a method for importing heavy crude oil and exporting light sweet crude oil. For example, light sweet crude oil could be processed by Mexico’s refineries and the U.S. refineries could process the heavy sour Mexican crude oil.
Exporting U.S. crude oil would also increase global crude oil supplies which could decrease global oil prices and create tools available to put pressure on potential unfriendly countries that rely on energy revenue to finance their government such as Venezuela, Russia and Iran. It should also be kept in mind that the United States could stop exports during a national crisis.
Politicians are concerned that their supporters would blame them if gasoline prices increased in the future. The Obama administration, under the authority of the Commerce Department, has the ability to suspend the ban. This appears to be unlikely as many Democrats have strong environmental influences in their political base and so far they have been opposed to removing the ban.
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