A recent writer suggests building the Keystone XL pipeline from the Canadian Tar Sands would increase competition for oil companies, leading to reduced gasoline prices. This would give people more money to spend, aiding economic recovery. I wish it were true.
Unfortunately, there is no reason to think that the pipeline will increase the U.S. gasoline supply or reduce prices. When oil leaves the refinery, it enters the world market, and as Oil Change International reported last August, the refineries in Port Arthur, Texas, where the oil would be sent, are focused on exporting oil to Europe and Latin America.
To make matters worse, Port Arthur is in a Foreign Trade Zone, so U.S. citizens would not even get the benefit of export taxes, since they don’t have to pay any.
Pipeline proponents in their frequent Gazette ads suggest the Keystone XL would provide thousands of jobs. But a Cornell University report suggests this is seriously inflated. Using figures submitted by TransCanada Corp., the company applying to build the pipeline, they estimate it will create no more than 2,500 to 4,650 temporary construction jobs.
The real result of building the Keystone XL: the 1 percent who run Big Oil make millions, while 99 percent of us get 1,700 miles of U.S. heartland endangered if (when) the pipeline leaks, oil prices remain high, and carbon dioxide emissions continue their ominous buildup in the atmosphere.