But Hersh, like Yergin, said it makes sense to sell some of the light sweet crude produced in places like the Bakken in North Dakota and buy the heavy crude of other producers, like Saudi Arabia, that can be processed in U.S. refineries.
"The way I look at it is the U.S. is a wonderful consumer of certain crude oil products. Some are light oil, some are heavy oil, and those come from different parts of the world," he said. "If we are in a world where we are not short, then the best thing for capital formation and productivity is to have the right product find the right consumer anywhere in the world. We have no problem exporting corn and soy beans even though we eat food."
Hersh said the economics of the global energy market will probably drive the U.S. to export, but it will be a ways off.
"The mindset is changing, we'll change and the policies will be a lagging indicator when they change," he said. "The energy markets are more powerful than any politicians."
(Watch: How US can change entire energy equation)
Oppenheimer senior analyst Fadel Gheit said it's not likely the U.S. will export crude, especially since it still imports so much. "It's like having your population hungry, and you're exporting food. We're still net importers," he said. He said it would make sense for the U.S. to trade some of the light sweet crude it produces for heavier oils, since the refineries were retrofitted to refine heavier oil.
Morse said he would not be surprised to see an application at some point to export crude to Korea, a free trade partner. The expansion of the Panama Canal, which allows ships to move between the Atlantic and Pacific, plus a glut of oil, could both hit the Gulf Coast at about the same time in 2015. He believes that is when the debate about whether the U.S. should export some of its own supply will pick up.
"That will have the same defanging impact of taking politics out of this business," he said.
"Russia is the prime example of a country that has tried to gain advantages from the use of oil as an instrument of politics and natural gas even more so," said Morse. "The OPEC countries, as a whole, are oriented towards trying when they can to withhold oil from the market to influence prices."
According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. is overtaking Russia as the world's largest producer of oil and gas. The U.S. EIA reports that the U.S. produced the equivalent of about 22 million barrels a day of oil, natural gas and related fuels in July, and Russia forecast its output at 21.8 million barrels a day, according to the Journal.
(Related video: Pumping natural gas)
But Morse said that, according to his calculations, the U.S. has already surpassed Russia.
"We'll continue to make strides on that. Our production base is rising very quickly, and theirs is stalled out," he said. "What the current trends have unleashed is the final victory of market forces over countries who dominate the export industry, who have used oil and natural gas as a political instrument."
Citigroup data show the U.S. surpassed Russian natural gas production in 2009, and in 2012, the U.S. produced 65.7 billion cubic feet a day, versus Russia's 57.1. That's 11 million barrels of oil equivalent, versus 9.82. Add to that U.S. production of oil and natural gas liquids of 11 million barrels a day at the end of 2012, and the U.S. surpasses Russia, which produced 10.6 million barrels a day.
"Yes we are the largest oil producer in the world, but we are the largest oil consumers in the world," said Gheit. "If we produce 9 million barrels a day of crude oil in addition to natural gas, we are consuming more than double that. Russia is a net exporter of crude but we are a net importer of crude, to the tune of 7 million barrels a day. It's a fact, and one important thing is that our production costs are the highest in the world."
—By CNBC's Patti Domm. Follow here on Twitter @pattidomm.