While President Obama wants to open the way for Iran oil exports, Texans are pushing to put U.S. crude back on the world market, too -- a move that could save American consumers billions in fuel costs.
As the U.S. Senate prepared to vote on the White House's deal with Tehran, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power on Thursday advanced H.R. 702 to lift a 40-year ban on exports of U.S. crude.
The measure, authored by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Waco, has 126 House co-sponsors, including 19 Texas Republicans and Democrats.
"It's a rare breed of legislation - with endorsements from the (Democrat) Blue Dog Coalition and Republican Study Committee," Barton said. "Lifting the ban on U.S. crude oil exports this year would create jobs in all 50 states and increase tax revenue upwards of $13.5 billion in 2020."
Reopening global markets to American crude could save consumers up to $5.8 billion a year through lower gas and fuel prices, some energy forecasters say.
The 1975 crude export ban was enacted when U.S. oil production was slack and gas prices were soaring. Since then, hydraulic fracking, horizontal drilling and new exploration have vaulted domestic output ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia.