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President Donald Trump. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

New data and analyses underscore both the promise and limits of President Trump's repeated claim that the U.S. should be an "energy dominant" country.

One factor: The Energy Information Administration said yesterday that U.S. crude oil exports hit a fresh record of 2.57 million barrels per day (mbd) last week — the highest level since the 2015 lifting of the crude export ban. U.S. overall crude production is also at record highs.

The details:

  • Of the 6 times that exports have exceeded 2 mbd on a weekly basis, 5 have occurred this year.
  • Look for these levels and more to be increasingly common as production and export infrastructure expands.
  • Foreign buyers are also taking advantage of price differentials between U.S. crude and more expensive grades.

Yes, but: Attention to the shale oil boom should not eclipse the reality that despite the dominance rhetoric, the U.S. will remain tethered to wider global market swings, remains a big net crude importer, and Trump has limited effect on the country's output.

  • In its latest monthly oil market report yesterday, the International Energy Agency said that despite the U.S. output growth, it will be a "major challenge" for producing countries to prevent sharp price increases as Iran sanctions and Venezuela's collapse hinder supply.
  • The U.S. crude surge is only loosely tethered to Trump's oil-and-gas policy agenda, which largely addresses federal lands, while the production gains have been mostly on state and private lands in Texas and elsewhere.

Why this matters: Despite the market-driven U.S. production surge, rising prices could create political problems for Republicans as gasoline prices head toward $3 per gallon.

Be smart: Over in our Expert Voices section, Eurasia Group CEO Robert Johnston looks at a paradox in Trump's approach to energy and his inability to back up his widely circulated claim that what he called "artificially high" prices "will not be accepted." Johnston writes:

  • "[T]he administration has done little on clean energy, where policy could make a meaningful impact."
  • "While the Trump administration searches for policy direction with OPEC and oil market disruptions, it has retreated from an active role on renewable and alternative energy, where the market alone is not likely to drive U.S. leadership."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Army to award Purple Hearts to troops injured in Iran missile attack

Damage at Ain al-Asad military airbase housing U.S. and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar in January 2020. Photo: Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images

The Army has approved 39 more Purple Hearts for U.S. soldiers wounded in an Iranian military ballistic missile attack on an Iraq base in January 2020, the Army Times first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Most of these soldiers sustained brain injuries, per the Army Times. Then-President Trump dismissed their injuries at the time as "headaches" and "not very serious," sparking backlash from some veterans groups.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.