The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Patrick Davis,
David Rosen,

As Winter Approaches, Fossil Fuel Exports Drive Up Consumer Prices


With Americans facing dramatic increases in their home heating bills this winter, exports of oil and natural gas extracted in the U.S. have dramatically ramped up in recent years, allowing the fossil fuel industry to increase profits while raising the price for consumers, according to a new report released today by Public Citizen.

Public Citizen's analysis of U.S. Energy Information Administration data found that, in the first half of 2022:

  • Nearly 30% of U.S-produced crude oil was exported, more than double the amount sent abroad five years ago.
  • 3.4 million barrels per day of crude oil were exported from the U.S., nearly three times as much as in 2017, when about 1.2 million barrels per day of crude were exported.
  • More than 20% of U.S. natural gas production was exported. That was up from 11.5% in 2017 and 6.6% in 2015.
  • About 591 billion cubic feet of natural gas per month -- including 336 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas -- was exported from the U.S. Natural gas exports are more than double 2017 levels.

"Over the past decade, the fossil fuel industry has reoriented itself to prioritize profits from consumers overseas, jacking up prices for American consumers, while putting the climate at peril, exploiting public lands and leaving marginalized Gulf Coast communities in the lurch," said Alan Zibel, research director at Public Citizen. "The Biden administration must start thinking seriously about ways to gauge whether exports are in the public interest, and start making the interests of frontline communities, public lands and the climate a much higher priority."

Over the past decade, wild swings in the price of oil and natural gas illustrate how the fossil fuel industry's 2015 push to lift the oil export ban oversold the benefits to consumers. Unregulated exports have left U.S. consumers even more exposed to volatile global energy markets, according to the report, while the fossil fuel industry ramps up its domestic extraction plans. Just this week, a new coalition led by natural gas companies, launched to push LNG exports, deceptively painting natural gas as a climate solution.

In particular, soaring exports of liquefied natural gas are resulting in much higher natural gas prices, and this trend is likely to worsen this winter. A recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas found that nearly 70% believe that this year's expansion in LNG exports to Europe will end the age of inexpensive U.S. natural gas within three years.

"The consequence of America becoming the largest fossil fuel exporter in the world has upended domestic energy markets, and exposes U.S. households to punishing energy burdens," said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's Energy Program. "It is not in the public interest to justify exports overseas that result in increased energy poverty and energy insecurity for tens of millions of Americans."

Read the full report here.

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

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