Get Smart Fast: Crude Oil Exports in 200 Words

Because of concerns about energy security and decades of living with energy scarcity, exporting oil has traditionally been controversial. In the 1970s, as the country reeled from oil shocks, Congress passed legislation banning the export of crude oil.

The fracking revolution changed our problem of energy scarcity by dramatically increasing the supply of oil in the United States, leading producers to push harder than ever to access world markets.

As the shale oil boom continued, the ban on exports lost political support and proponents of international market expansion pushed to have the ban lifted. Furthermore, low gasoline prices meant that consumers were less concerned that the export of oil would increase prices at the gas pump. By the end of last year, consensus was building that lifting the oil export ban would benefit our country economically and would help to provide stability in world oil markets.

In December 2015 Congress passed a bill that allowed exports of crude oil for the first time in 40 years. The first shipment left the United States later that month.