crude oil

Lorne Matalon / Marfa Public Radio

The price of a barrel of U.S. crude oil has plummeted by more than 50 percent since June 2014. U.S. producers claim that they're at a competitive disadvantage because they're restricted to selling their oil domestically at a time when they desperately need new markets to sell their expanding inventories.  

As lawmakers in Washington consider lifting the decades-old ban on crude oil exports, voices from around the country are weighing in on what the move would mean for the American public.

The oil industry’s top trade group has released a pair of brand new TV ads that tell viewers that lifting the ban would be good for national security and our economy. The American Petroleum Institute is running the ads in 12 states, including Colorado. The group estimates that allowing the foreign sale of US crude could increase domestic production by half a million barrels a day by 2020.

Zach Mahone / Vail Valley Foundation

Pressure is mounting for a decision in Washington that would lift the crude oil export ban. Energy executives met with Obama administration officials last week to lobby for lifting it. This past weekend, they made their case at an energy conference in Colorado.  

Gas prices around the country have been falling in recent weeks. That's true for Wyoming as well -- but the state hasn't seen quite as big a drop as other places. Gas prices in Wyoming are averaging $3.27 a gallon right now according to analysis from That's $.25 higher than the national average. Gas Buddy analyst Patrick De Haan says that shouldn’t be surprising.

“Gas stations in Wyoming tend to be more rural. They may not have gasoline volumes like other areas. And the changes because of that lag the national average.”

Rebecca Martinez / Wyoming Public Media

Lifting the ban on crude oil exports would lead to lower gas prices and more oil production in the US, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

US oil exports were banned after the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s. With increasing domestic oil production, industry has said the ban is outdated and has been asking Congress to lift it. University of Wyoming economics professor Charles Mason says especially with falling global oil prices, that would help Wyoming producers.

There's a new pipeline project proposed from North Dakota to Oklahoma that would run through Wyoming. On Friday, Enterprise Product Partners LLC announced an "open season" for the Bakken-to-Cushing pipeline. Open seasons are a way to gauge interest and demand for a pipeline.

If built, the line would run from the Williston Basin in North Dakota, and would pass through oil plays in Eastern Wyoming and Northern Colorado. The line would end in the Cushing hub in Oklahoma, where oil is priced.

Leigh Paterson

In the last few years, the United States has undergone a radical transformation, from energy importer to energy exporter. Liquified natural gas terminals that were built to process natural gas from abroad are being converted for export. The first tanker full of unrefined US crude oil to leave our shores in decade set sail from Texas late last month. Coal companies are increasingly relying on foreign markets to pad their balance sheets. Wyoming Public Radio held a forum recently to discuss how increased foreign exports could affect the state.

Stephanie Joyce

In the first quarter of 2014, the United States surpassed both Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. It already hit that mark for natural gas late last year. All of that oil and gas has to be transported from the fields where it’s drilled to refineries and processing plants, and most of that is done by pipeline, but the nation’s pipeline infrastructure isn’t currently up to the task.

Hundreds of thousands of tank cars full of crude oil snake across the nation each year, and the number is only increasing.  In the last five years, the number has jumped 14-fold. Along with that, there’s been an increased number of accidents, derailments and spills.

Nat Hamilton/WHYY

In the wake of recent derailments and explosions of crude oil trains, state officials will start receiving information about when those trains are moving through their states. The federal Department of Transportation issued an emergency order in early May, requiring the railroads to share information with states about the routing of any shipments of Bakken crude oil over a million gallons. It goes into effect Saturday.

For forty years the U-S has banned the export of most all crude oil. Matt Laslo reports a new debate is raging in Washington over whether to end the ban.

MATT LASLO: The U-S banned crude oil exports after the Arab oil embargo of 1973. It’s been in place since, which has negatively impacted global oil prices. Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso says he’s ready to lift the ban.

Current regulations are inadequate for monitoring and controlling oil and gas development, according to a new report from a coalition of western resource councils. In particular, the report focuses on the potential problems surrounding treatment and disposal of produced water, the contaminated water that's pulled up along with oil in the drilling process.

Gas prices are up across the Rocky Mountain States as Canadian oil costs increase. Although this means that prices in Wyoming are back to more than $3.00 per gallon, Wyoming drivers are still paying less than the national average.

Laramie Gas Prices Lowest in Nation

Jan 8, 2013

It’s a good time to fill up in Wyoming, especially if you live in Laramie—which boasts the lowest gas prices in the nation, at $2.47. The state average is $2.83, which is about two and a half dollars less than the national average.  That’s according to, which collects data from volunteer price spotters around the country.

Gas Buddy Senior Petroleum Analyst, Patrick DeHaan says Wyoming’s location, low taxes, and prolific refineries contribute to the low prices.