The debate has raged for some time over whether the U.S. should allow exports of crude oil. Instead, the focus should be on the potential benefits of restricting crude imports.
Limiting crude oil imports would insulate the U.S. oil market from massive price swings caused by the actions of monopolistic foreign governments—primarily OPEC nations. More stable prices for crude will help eliminate the wild swings in capital formation and exploration for crude that now typify the market and cause periodic disruptions to the U.S. economy as a whole. Lest oil industry and federal policymakers forget, wild price swings upward that were destructive for consumers occurred in 1974, 1980 and 2008; wild price swings downward that were destructive for producers occurred in 1982, 1986, 1998, 2008 and now, 2014.
The U.S. uses import prohibitions, quotas or tariffs to limit the importation of workers, light trucks, steel, tubulars, grain, coffee, sugar, cigars, cheese, alcohol, health care, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors and national defense. U.S. patents also protect domestic innovation from foreign competition.