By: Mark Drajem and Ari Natter
WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- Congress is set to begin consideration of a measure to lift the decades-old ban on U.S. crude exports after a government study concluded the move wouldn’t raise gasoline prices for consumers, people familiar with the plan said.
A panel in the House of Representatives is planning to vote on a measure to lift the ban, which dates back to the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, as early as next week, according to three lobbyists working on the matter, who asked not to be named because the markup hasn’t been announced yet. The full House may vote on it later in September, leaving ahead the more difficult task of gaining enough support for repeal in the Senate, they said.
Repealing the ban has gained new political potency as hydraulic fracturing has triggered a boom in domestic oil and natural gas output. Oil companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. have called for its end, while some refiners say that lifting the ban would lead them to pay more for crude.
“What we’ve seen is a shift in the views of policymakers and the American public,” said Louis Finkel, executive V.P. for government affairs at the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute, an industry group that supports lifting the ban. “Every day that goes by, bipartisan support for this grows.”
A spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee said he didn’t have any scheduling information to share. The committee hasn’t announced a subcommittee markup on the measure.