House Speaker John Boehner for the first time publicly endorsed ending a 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil Wednesday, lending weight to growing Republican momentum to lift the restrictions.

The Ohio Republican said that scrapping the policy would lower gasoline prices, add jobs and benefit allies.

"I would support lifting the ban and hopefully we can work together on a bipartisan fashion to move our energy policies into this century," Boehner said at a Capitol Hill press conference.

Momentum has been growing in the Republican House caucus to kill the ban. Many still haven't publicly embraced the idea, though, largely out of fear of being blamed by voters if gasoline prices rise.

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