The debate over whether crude oil exports from the United States should be allowed is stirring public opinion but to U.S. economists there is no room for doubt. A new poll, carried out by the Associated Press, gauged the opinion of 30 U.S. economists regarding the issue and revealed that their view was almost unanimous: exports would be beneficial to the country.

The vast majority of economists, or nine in 10, were of the opinion that if the ban on crude oil exports was lifted the United States would see a surge in oil and gas investments, not just in production but also in transportation and logistics. This would in turn create jobs and would make domestic oil and gas supplies more stable. Moreover, it would result in a significant reduction in the U.S. trade deficit.

One of the most commonly cited arguments against lifting the ban is a potential rise in fuel prices for U.S. consumers. The survey showed that even those economists who thought such a development was possible were convinced that the overall benefits would outweigh any disadvantages. They believed there could be ways to help those struggling with increased fuel prices, such as introducing tax breaks. But the question of whether allowing exports would really result in a price hike does not have a definitive answer yet, the Associated Press concluded.