DC Decoder Oil export ban 101: Why does US have it? Why is it now easing?

Since 1975, Congress has sought to keep domestic crude oil at home, for use by American consumers. Signs are afoot that the Obama administration is ready to ease the ban and let some oil be exported. Here are the basics.

By , Staff writer

Eric Gay/AP/File

The US Commerce Department is allowing two energy companies to export a lightly refined petroleum product – a move seen by some as a first step toward the possible lifting of a longstanding US ban on crude-oil exports.