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GAO: Exporting Crude Oil Would Cut Gas Prices

Unleaded gas at the Gasamat in Laramie cost $2.73 Wednesday.
Rebecca Martinez
Unleaded gas at the Gasamat in Laramie cost $2.73 Wednesday.

Lifting the ban on crude oil exports would lead to lower gas prices and more oil production in the US, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

US oil exports were banned after the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s. With increasing domestic oil production, industry has said the ban is outdated and has been asking Congress to lift it. University of Wyoming economics professor Charles Mason says especially with falling global oil prices, that would help Wyoming producers.

“I don’t think there’s much question that the export ban is feeding into the lower prices in the Interior US,” Mason said.

Wyoming crude typically trades at $10-20 less than US benchmark West Texas Intermediate. The report also finds lifting the ban could increase oil production in the US by as much as a third, or 3.3 million barrels a day. It notes that would also mean increased potential for groundwater contamination and increased carbon pollution.

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