Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is scheduled to meet behind closed doors with oil executives tomorrow to discuss out of control gasoline prices. Instead of cajoling private companies to offer a symbolic band-aid to hurting consumers, the White House should pursue a more direct strategy: Stopping the export of gasoline and other fuels.
In 2015, the decades-long ban on exporting crude oil was lifted. Oil shipments went from 400,000 barrels per day in 2015 to about 3.8 million barrels earlier this year. Exports of gasoline and diesel have also risen dramatically, reportedly to near-record highs. In addition to increasing carbon pollution, the shipments serve to lower domestic supplies, which raises prices for consumers at the pump here at home.
The same is true of the liquified natural gas (LNG) export boom. While global supplies are tight, corporations are exporting fuels to buyers that can pay the most, raising the costs of home heating and electricity for American families. The effect on prices was evident when a fire shut down a major gas export facility in Texas. Natural gas futures dropped about 25 percent as a result, which analysts attributed to more gas being available for domestic consumption.
In advance of the meeting, Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter released the following statement:
“Exporting dirty energy is a climate disaster, but it also hurts consumers and working families here at home. While gasoline prices remain ridiculously high, energy corporations are shipping crude oil overseas. This is great business for Wall Street speculators and dirty energy CEOs, but it’s taking a terrible toll on everyone else.
“Lifting the ban on oil exports was a terrible mistake, but the White House has the authority to do something to immediately ease the pain on consumers. By declaring a climate emergency, President Biden could curtail oil exports to help alleviate the supply crunch. The administration could take similar action to rein in LNG exports.
“We are also exporting near-record levels of gasoline and diesel, the products that are currently wiping consumers out at the pump.
“Of course, the real solution is to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels altogether. In the last three years we have seen the destabilizing war in Ukraine, the supply chain shocks of a deadly pandemic, and the decision by domestic drillers to cut new supplies in order to maximize profits and please Wall Street. This is simply unsustainable in every sense. Instead of begging corporate profiteers to solve our problems, it’s time for the White House to take a direct step to alleviate the pain being felt by American families. It’s time to stop oil and gas exports.”