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Energy, Security, and Climate

CFR experts examine the science and foreign policy surrounding climate change, energy, and nuclear security.

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Showing posts for "oil"

The Oil Lesson of 1986 is Wrong

by Michael Levi
BloombergOil1986

When I was on the road promoting The Power Surge in 2013, I regularly said two things: First, oil prices could easily plunge for a year or two, though it was far from certain that that would happen. Second, we would not see a repeat of 1986, when the hangover from a price crash lasted for well over a decade before high prices finally returned. Read more »

One More Reason to Raise the Gas Tax Now

by Michael Levi
Gasoline price gas tax 2015 REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Three months ago gas taxes were untouchable. Now, with oil prices down, they’re having a moment. Public voices from Larry Summers to Charles Krauthammer are calling for hikes. (Summers argues for a carbon tax; Krauthammer says the tax should be raised “a lot”.) More important, serious lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have gotten in on the game. The general thrust of the arguments on offer is that with oil prices falling, it’s now possible to raise the gas tax and still leave consumers better off than they were half a year ago. That right, but I think there’s an even stronger argument to be made. Read more »

What Low Oil Prices Mean for the Keystone XL Pipeline

by Michael Levi
Keystone XL Pipeline Reuters/Andrew Cullen

The 114th Congress is in session and the Keystone XL pipeline is at the top of its docket. Senate Republicans have vowed to push the pipeline through and President Obama has threatened to veto any bill that does that. After five years of battle, this is mostly more of the same. But one thing about the world has changed radically since the Keystone XL pipeline became a top tier issue: oil prices have plunged. So what do lower oil prices mean for the costs and benefits of the Keystone XL pipeline? Read more »

Oil and OPEC: This Time is Not as Different as You Think It Is

by Michael Levi

The plunge in oil prices late last week, following an OPEC announcement that its members won’t cut their oil production now, has analysts scrambling to outdo each other with hyperbole. It is a “new era” for oil as OPEC has “thrown in the towel”. We are now in a “new world of oil” as the “sun sets on OPEC dominance”. Read more »

Which U.S. States Win and Lose Most From Falling Oil Prices?

by Michael Levi
Brent Crude Oil Price (Source: WSJ) Brent Crude Oil Price (Source: WSJ)

Oil prices are plunging. Which U.S. states will benefit most – and which are most at risk? A study that we published about a year ago looked at exactly this question. The research, by Mine Yucel of the Dallas Fed and Stephen Brown of UNLV, ranked Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Tennessee as the biggest potential winners, and Wyoming, Oklahoma, and North Dakota as those with the most to lose. Read more »

Will the U.S. Oil Boom Make Energy Sanctions Easier?

by Michael Levi
Pump jacks drill for oil in US energy boom REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Ask someone to identify a big geopolitical consequence of the ongoing U.S. oil production boom and odds are high that they’ll invoke Iran. (Every one of the links in that last sentence is an example.) Without surging U.S. oil production, they’ll argue, sanctions on Iranian oil exports would have led to a massive oil price spike. Here is a concrete case of the oil boom yielding greater U.S. freedom of action in the world, and a harbinger, it would seem, of things to come. Read more »

The Other Big Energy Export News

by Michael Levi

The energy world has been abuzz this week with news that the Department of Commerce will allow exports of minimally processed condensate. This has been heralded as a “step towards a rational oil policy” and a shift that “could change the world’s energy balance”. In particular, many are speculating that this is a step toward complete elimination of the ban on crude oil exports. Read more »