NEW YORK — American oil companies have not been allowed to export crude for 40 years, but the industry wants to change that, even though the U.S. still consumes far more oil than it produces.
A surprising surge in domestic production of light, sweet crude has triggered growing calls to lift the restrictions, which were put in place after the Arab oil embargo of 1973.
But the idea is touching a nerve that remains raw four decades after oil shortages crippled the economy and led to the law that banned crude exports without a special license.
Skeptics worry that lifting the restrictions would lead to higher gasoline prices and decreased energy security. Economists and analysts argue that it would have little or no effect on prices, largely because the U.S. already exports record amounts of gasoline and diesel, which are not restricted.