The Keystone XL Will Raise Gas Prices

In Other News, Greens Have a Winning Slogan

For the last two weeks, everybody's been talking gas. Just about all of the typical observations and allegations about prices at the pump have been made: They're going up! They might break records by summer! They might cripple the economy! It's all Obama's fault! Big Oil profits with high prices, so end its handouts!

But amidst all the near-hysteria, one point isn't being addressed nearly as prominently as it should be—and that's a new report that confirms that the Keystone XL would cause gas prices to go up even more. Granted, not for a while, but given how feverishly the GOP is working to approve the pipeline, it should figure into the conversation. Big time.

Here's the leadoff line from a new Bloomberg report: "TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline, a project backers including Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum say will create cheaper U.S. gasoline, instead risks raising prices as much as 20 cents a gallon in the Midwest, Great Plains and Rocky Mountains." As Brad Johnson succinctly puts it, the pipeline would "allow Canadian crude to escape the United States oil market, increasing profits for oil companies and driving up domestic gasoline prices."

That's right. The Keystone XL would raise gas prices. That fact could be the best ammo yet for Keystone opponents. The mainstream media has unfortunately devolved the 'debate' into...

Pro: It will create jobs and increase our energy security! (Both claims, by the way, are false)
Con: Cranky environmentalists think it would endanger some land in Nebraska or something.

That devolution is largely the result of the media's failure to accurately portray the risks of the pipeline: Polls show that when people learn more about the environmental dangers, they overwhelmingly oppose it. But as of now, wide majorities are in favor of approving it.

Which is why 'Keystone XL causes higher gas prices' could quickly become the most powerful oppositional slogan environmentalists have. They should be repeating this ad nauseum wherever possible; activists should generally be making this the focal point. It has the tagline quality that has serious potential to get picked up all over the place in our dumbed-down, fossil fuels-biased media complex. Sure, the report also says that the price spike may balance out with slightly lower prices in other regions like the Gulf, but hey, this is politics. And it's factually correct: Gas prices would rise all across the Midwest. If greens could get the message that Keystone will spike gas prices pegged to the story of a foreign oil company building a pipeline through middle America, the phony 'jobs' messaging would fizzle out.

Don't get me wrong—there are a thousand things that are all wrong about Keystone, and I wish the public (and the media) could be convinced to take the time to learn about all of them. But the oil industry and its myriad allies—every Republican congressman in existence, the US Chamber of Commerce, a growing number of high-profile Democrats—are campaigning beyond tenaciously to get the thing approved. I mean, they've already started building this thing, even without the permit. It's time to fight back with a mantra that will get stuck in the nation's head.

Repeat after me: The Keystone XL will raise gas prices.

Tags: Oil | Tar Sands | Tar Sands Action

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