If the U.S. exports light sweet crude oil prematurely, we could be blindly opening the door for higher gasoline prices here at home. The shale movement was supposed to be by Americans for Americans, so why not use or store the newly found light sweet crude, rather than exporting it. Plus, we should stop importing heavy oil from foreign governments that don't like us very much, especially since the heavy crude can't really be cracked by many older refiners anyway.
There is no doubt the U.S. is definitely seeing the volumetric benefit of higher production thanks to fracking, but I do want to point out there will likely be a very high social cost of that production that should be evaluated when it comes to fracking as well as deeper analysis on whether natural gas is really the United States' saving grace when it comes to the whole energy independence conversation (an argument I believe is flawed since we should be focusing more on next generation renewable opportunities rather than bet the farm on natural gas). Additionally, could domestic oil supplies actually begin to resume a downtrend by the end of the decade if export restrictions are removed? Also, with so much uncertainty regarding lack of extension for PTC's related to wind, is the US thinking way too short-term when it considers lifting the ban on oil exports? There are certainly many different questions that the U.S. must consider when considering lifting the oil export law which presently allows for limited US crude oil to enter Canada.
Oil giants like ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Chevron (NYSE:CVX) as well as tanker companies and European refinery plays will all benefit if the export ban is lifted, while pipeline plays such as Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI) could see increased flow if more crude moves in our own backyard.
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John Licata has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow John on Twitter @bluephoenixinc. The Motley Fool recommends Chevron and Kinder Morgan. The Motley Fool owns shares of Kinder Morgan. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.