NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

American Energy Needs Free Trade

October 26, 2015

America has an abundance of natural resources, including sufficient energy reserves to provide Americans with affordable and reliable energy well into the future. With its plentiful reserves of coal, natural gas and oil, the United States is already a global leader in energy production and has the potential to be a major supplier to the rest of the world.

  • In January 2006, companies in the United States supplied just over 5 million barrels of oil per day to the global market.
  • Nearly 1.3 trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil lie beneath U.S. soil and off America's coasts -- enough to fuel more than 90 million cars and nearly 3.5 million homes for more than 50 years.
  • The United States alone has more than five times the amount of recoverable oil than Saudi Arabia.
  • With more than 480 billion short tons of coal recoverable with today's technology, the United States can provide electricity for over 500 years at current consumption rates.

With enormous oil and natural gas reserves, the U.S. is positioned to remain a global energy power well into the future if Congress adopts free-market policies that open domestic and international markets and reduce regulations that choke off resource development.

Free trade is imperative to a free society, as it fosters economic growth and improves human well-being. Policymakers should treat energy like any other good or service that is traded freely around the world by allowing U.S. producers to export more energy. Providing more energy choices to both producers and consumers will generate jobs, expand the economy and provide important geopolitical benefits to the rest of the world by increasing global energy supplies and reducing the ability of any one nation or organization to use its control of energy resources for strategic purposes. Congress and the Administration should remove government-imposed barriers to energy exports.

Source: Nicolas Loris, "The Economic and Geopolitical Benefits of Free Trade in Energy Resources," Heritage Foundation, October 9, 2015.



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