“Fears that the planned phaseout of controls would not be carried out, for political reasons, have also hampered production. Ending these controls now will erase this uncertainty.”
– Ronald Reagan, “Statement on Signing Executive Order 12287, Providing for the Decontrol of Crude Oil and Refined Petroleum Products” (January 28, 1981)
I am ordering, effective immediately, the elimination of remaining Federal controls on U.S. oil production and marketing.
For more than 9 years, restrictive price controls have held U.S. oil production below its potential, artificially boosted energy consumption, aggravated our balance of payments problems, and stifled technological breakthroughs. Price controls have also made us more energy-dependent on the OPEC nations, a development that has jeopardized our economic security and undermined price stability at home.
Fears that the planned phaseout of controls would not be carried out, for political reasons, have also hampered production. Ending these controls now will erase this uncertainty.
This step will also stimulate energy conservation. At the same time, the elimination of price controls will end the entitlements system, which has been in reality a subsidy for the importation of foreign oil.
This order also ends the gasoline allocation regulations which the Departments of Energy and Justice cite as important causes of the gas lines and shortages which have plagued American consumers on and off since 1974.
In order to provide for the orderly termination of petroleum controls, certain minor provisions of the current regulatory program will not end until March 31, 1981.
Ending price controls is a positive first step towards a balanced energy program, a program free of arbitrary and counter-productive constraints, one designed to promote prudent conservation and vigorous domestic production.