Nearly all of the 30 economists surveyed by the Associated Press in a recent poll said they support lifting decades-old limitations on exports of oil and gas from the United States amid a resource boom in North America.
Almost 90 percent of economists who participated in the AP poll said increasing oil and gas exports would help the economy more than hinder it, by creating jobs and investment in resource production and transport while improving the U.S. trade deficit and improving stability in the oil and gas markets.
Polled economists opposed to lifting export restrictions expressed concern that doing so could increase electricity and fuel prices in the United States, hurting everyday consumers and undermining a much-needed advantage for the challenged American manufacturing sector.
“The economy in general is better off if we can sell something to someone and bring money into the economy,” said economist Jerry Webman. “I’d rather deal with any side effects directly than limit our ability to do business with the world.”
For decades the U.S. has faced increasing oil and gas exports as production dwindled, and strict national security rules were implemented to regulate the ability of oil and gas producers in the U.S. to sell their production outside of the country. But as production has increased in recent years, due largely to technological advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, many in the industry have clamored for the ability to sell what they produce outside of the country. In particular, companies request the right to sell natural gas—liquefied for transport—in markets in Asia and Europe where the fuel fetches a substantially higher price than it does in the U.S.