The sharp decline in real world oil prices since 1986 has had a significant impact on the U.S. economy, moderating the rate of inflation and reducing energy costs of consumers and businesses while creating widespread unemployment, bankruptcies and bank failures across the oil-producing states of the Southwest. Combined with record federal budget and trade deficits, these severe regional dislocations have rekindled the debate over an increase in the (currently very small) U.S. oil import tariff. The most frequently suggested forms such an increase would take is either that of a fixed fee of $5 or $10 per barrel (such as Representative Gephardt's proposal) or a variable fee set equal to the difference between the world oil price and a guaranteed minimum domestic price of $22-$24 per barrel (as recently suggested by Governor Clements of Texas).
Jones, Clifton T. and J. Patrick Raines. 1987. "Benefits and Costs of a Variable Oil Import Fee." E.C.R.S.B. 87-6. Robins School of Business White Paper Series. University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia.