Keystone XL Will Increase Gas Prices

Keystone XL, the contentious TransCanada pipeline that would deliver tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Texas for refining and shipment, has met another challenge: the pipeline may actually increase gas prices rather than drive costs down. The reason? According to NRDC, Keystone XL is likely to “decrease the amount of gasoline produced in U.S. refineries for domestic markets, and increase the cost of producing it, leading to even higher prices at the pump.”

This is unwelcome news for proponents of the pipeline who apparently will stop at nothing to get the pipeline built. However, it’s very welcome news for environmental groups and concerned citizens alike who are fearful of the short and longterm ramifications of the pipeline. Groups like ForestEthics350.orgTar Sands Action and Bold Nebraska have played key roles in the fight against the pipeline, citing environmental devastation and health concerns, but it’s still an uphill battle.

Last summer, in an effort to cease construction and draw national attention, Bill McKibben rallied more than 1,000 activists to sit in front of the White House in peaceful protest against the pipeline.  Many attest this protest is the reason why President Obama continues to delay a final decision, but even though the President has pushed off any potential construction (now until 2013) until a more thorough environmental impact assessment can be made, construction of the southern portion of the pipeline, running from Cushing, Okla., to Port Arthur, Texas, has curiously already begun.

Whether or not Keystone XL is fully operational in the near future, however, will determine, on many levels, if we will live on a habitable planet.  It’s been said that building the Keystone XL is equivalent to “game over” for our climate given tar sands oil is some of the most dirty and carbon-intense on the planet. Bitumen, a thick and sticky form of crude oil that’s found in the tar sands, is so viscous and difficult to work with that it must be heated with hydrocarbons in order to flow.  This heating process only adds to the level of carbon that’s already being emitted into the atmosphere by the tar sands alone.

To make matters worse, the Boreal Forest, the region of Alberta where tar sands oil extraction currently takes place, is home to some of the most pristine and diverse land in the world. The Boreal Forest also acts as a significant global carbon sink. Clear-cutting trees and bulldozing tens of thousands of acres of land for oil underneath then makes little sense, particularly when the extraction process is one of the most damaging and costly that exists today.

In the end, the $7 billion, 1,700 mile pipeline would transport oil slated for export to Europe, China and Latin America — the United States would barely see a drop.  This on top of a project that would carry “as much as 900,000 barrels of oil each day — oil with a carbon output 20% higher than conventional oil supplies.”  The chance of an oil spill along the pipeline is enough to warrant immediate brakes on the project, but when you factor in climate change, there really is no question: tar sands oil needs to stay in the ground.

Related Stories:

5 Reasons Keystone XL is a Bad Idea

Half of Canadians Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline

Victory! State Dept. Denies Keystone XL Pipeline Application

Photo Credit: Josh Lopez


Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Mary Hale
Mary Hale5 years ago

No to tar sands, no to Key stonexl. Go green. How about the progress made with using hydrogen (water) Using windmills for electricy in factories . We have solor panels, windmills, there is so much we can do to stop the polution of air, ground,waterEven if start small and keep building green. Stop strip mining for coal. Cutting down trees, that help with the oxygen we need to breath. Smog out of cities and around factories. Toxic material in our water. People need to open their eyes and just start saying no, we don't want dirty air and water. I read the other day about wanting to cut down some of our red wood forest and letting oil compines do fracking in them. To cut down a tree that is thousands of years old is a crime.To kill or deform our fish and sea and lake life with the toxic materials this is just sad.

m Shiel
M s5 years ago

I loathe big oil I wish people would wake up now,not when it will be too late to fix the horrible mess . it amazes me that we choose not to hear the facts We figure- just put the gas in my car/truck and leave me alone No one cares because it hasn't personally affected them yet

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P5 years ago


Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

I've done exhaustive research of this subject. There's already one Keystone pipeline built by TransCanada & pumping oil from Alberta (about 1 million barrels/day) into this country. The pipeline & oil are owned by TransCanada, who ships the oil from US ports & sells the oil to China. We don't see a single drop of oil from them. The controversial pipeline is the second pipeline which they plan to build, straight to a Texas gulf port. There's no indication they'll sell us any oil from this second pipeline either. TransCanada is currently facing lawsuits from ecology groups, oil pumping stations, oil refineries, government agencies and citizens from both Canada and the US. Do we really think we can trust them or their supporters?

Beth K.
.5 years ago

It's amazing how little most people know about APEC and how gas prices are set. But not surprising those with the least knowledge, are usually republican.

Karen Howard
Karen H5 years ago

Steve R, it doesn’t matter who gets into office in November—gas prices will rise. Since I got my first car, I’ve seen gas prices go from under $1/gallon to close to $5/gallon.

Steve R.
Steve R5 years ago

"Keystone XL Will Increase Gas Prices"....

Get real!

Every day, a man in a nice suit in a government office somewhere, decides what your gas price will be today.

It has little to do with supply and demand, little to do with BP's gulf oil spill, with Iran's nuclear program, Keystone or anything else!

Read up bleeding hearts! Your government is screwing you with taxes and inflation!

They can manipulate the gas price any which way they want to. Hence, despite blaming the recent trek towards $4 a gallon on tension in the Middle East, the gas price has conveniently been manipulated downwards because the GOP was blaming it on Obama.

Guess where it will go in November if Obama is re-elected?

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

No to the tar sands. PERIOD. Do not pass not collect money.
This whole pipe line has been build on lies to the public in Canada and the US. No Gas will be made in the US or sold in the US. But the US will have to clean up the leaks made by this toxic material that wears out the pipes they pass through.
I do not want this to go through.

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

No to the tar sands. PERIOD. Do not pass not collect money.
This whole pipe line has been build on lies to the public in Canada and the US. No Gas will be made in the US or sold in the US. But the US will have to clean up the leaks made by this toxic material that wears out the pipes they pass through.
I do not want this to go through.