31 January 2014, News Wires – Domestic gas prices should be at the centre of the decision on whether to scrap a 40-year-old ban on most US crude oil exports, Senate Energy committee chairman Ron Wyden reportedly said on Thursday.
The committee held its first hearing in 25 years on whether restrictions should be lifted.
“I just want to hammer home the point this morning that for me, the litmus test is how middle class families will be affected by changing our country’s policy on oil exports,” Wyden was quoted as saying.
Oil producers and business groups have pushed for a change as domestic energy production skyrockets.
According to Reuters, Wyden said he feared that the impact of a policy change on consumers would be drowned out by “a number of influential voices” that want to export oil.
The Centre for American Progress, a think-tank, reportedly released a paper outlining an increase in domestic gas prices, should the ban be lifted.
Current laws require a presidential waiver to sell most unrefined crude.
The committee faces strong opposition from two Democratic senators who sent President Barack Obama a letter urging him not to change the current laws, Reuters reported.