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ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (informal)


By Colin A. Young

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, MAY 21, 2018....After exporting more crude oil per day than ever before last week, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey on Monday called on Congress to reinstate the ban on exporting American crude oil, pointing to the outbound fuel as a reason gas prices are rising.

AAA reported Monday that the average price of a gallon of gas in Massachusetts climbed six cents to $2.87 this week, 59 cents more expensive than a year ago. Nationally, with an average of $2.93 per gallon, motorists can expect to pay more this year than any Memorial Day weekend since 2014, AAA said.

Markey held a press conference Monday morning at a Mobil station in Malden to highlight the increases in gas prices under President Donald Trump and to lay the blame for those higher prices in the Republican president's lap.

The national average price of a gallon of gas has risen 25 percent since Trump took office -- from $2.33 a gallon to $2.93 a gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). U.S. and international oil prices have risen by 25 and 30 percent, respectively. Markey said the average consumer is paying about $350 more per year to fill up their gas tanks than before Trump took office.

"President Trump’s incoherent foreign policy has exacerbated geopolitical uncertainty around the globe and roiled oil markets. When combined with rising U.S. exports of American crude, U.S. consumers are more vulnerable to supply disruptions and international oil price
increases," Markey wrote in a report he released Monday. "This increased vulnerability is leading to higher premiums for Americans at the pump – this is the 'Trump oil risk tax.'"

Initially enacted as a response to the Arab oil embargo in the early 1970s, the oil export ban was lifted in 2015, before Trump took office, but U.S. exports of crude oil have reached record highs under Trump.

The EIA reported that the United States exported 2.57 million barrels per day last week -- a new all-time record rate that surpassed the previous week by 690,000 barrels per day and outpaced the same week a year ago by 1.48 million barrels per day. Meanwhile, Markey said, the country imported nearly 3.5 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products per day during April.

Markey on Monday called on Congress to re-enact the oil export ban "to ensure that American crude stays here, insulates us to the greatest extent possible from global shocks, and protects American consumers at the pump" and said he plans to file a bill to do just that.

The state's junior senator on Monday also sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office asking that it complete a review of the effects of crude oil exports on American consumers and the economy.

"Only by keeping American oil here at home will we be able to achieve the kind of American energy independence that President Trump’s policies undermine every day," Markey wrote in his report.

The higher gas prices reported Monday will be waiting for the nearly 42 million Americans AAA expects to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend, including about 1.7 million New England residents who are expected to travel by car this weekend.


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