According to an October 15, 2014 report from Bloomberg, gasoline prices have fallen by about 50 cents since April 2014. The U.S. Energy Information Administration also projects that the 2015 winter season will see an average decrease in U.S. household expenditures for natural gas, heating oil, electricity, and propane during the October through March winter heating season. But the plummeting U.S. oil prices are largely due to global supply and demand changes, where the slowdown of global markets is one of the primary reasons for gasoline declines, which could have a negative impact on domestic exports.
Because the slowdown of global markets is one of the primary reasons for gasoline price declines, overseas markets may not be as ready to accept imports, which could result in a reversed trend line. During the 113th Congress, lawmakers, primarily Republicans, pushed forward a number of bills to increase domestic production and U.S. exports. These bills included initiatives to facilitate oil and natural gas pipelines, such as H.R. 3301 – the North American Energy Infrastructure Act, sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) - which would eliminate the Presidential Permit requirement for constructing cross-boundary oil and natural gas pipelines or electric transmission facilities between the United States and Canada or Mexico; and H.R. 4899 – Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act of 2014, sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) would facilitate offshore energy production and oil and natural gas lease sales, which passed the House in June. On the other side, a number of Democrats have introduced proposals to keep domestic oil and gas production within the United States. For example, H.R. 1191 – Keep American Natural Gas Here Act, sponsored by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), would authorize the Secretary of Interior to accept bids on any new oil and gas leases of federal lands under the Mineral Leasing Act or the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act only if those bidders specify that the product would only be used within the United States. The bill would also require the U.S. Government Accountability Office to issue a report on the bill’s impact on the price and markets for natural gas in the United States.
Depending on the outcome of the midterm elections, the following bills will likely be reintroduced during the next Congress and would also facilitate domestic production:
H.R. 4293 – Natural Gas Gathering Enhancement Act, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)– would authorize the Secretary of Interior to permit the use of rights of way for natural gas pipelines through national parks and other specified lands and forests in the United States. (Referred to House Natural Resources and Agriculture Committees; hearings held 6/20/2014) The Senate companion bill is S. 2112 – Natural Gas Gathering Enhancement Act, sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).
H.R. 1587 – Energy Infrastructure Improvement Act, sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA)– would authorize the Secretary of Interior or Agriculture to issue permits for rights of way or other authorizations to construct, operate, or expand natural gas, oil, or petroleum pipelines and related facilities on federal land. (Referred to House Natural Resources and Agriculture Committees; hearings held 6/20/2014)
S. 2894 - A bill to that would streamline the oil and gas permitting process and to recognize fee ownership for certain oil and gas drilling or spacing units. (Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 9/18/2014)