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Keystone XL Would Increase Gas Prices and Carbon Emissions

Two new—but conflicting—reasons to oppose the project.


Most people stopped thinking about Keystone XL, the tar sands pipeline, after months of political sniping led the Obama administration to nix the project. But Congress hasn't forgotten about it: Republicans and Democrats have been quietly fighting over whether to shoehorn a measure approving the pipeline into a transportation bill. Meanwhile, environmental groups, oil lobbyists, and independent analysts have been working to predict the consequences that would result if it was built. Their efforts have produced two new reports providing two new—but conflicting—reasons to oppose the project.

In some parts of the United States, building Keystone XL could drive gas prices up, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council in a report confirming other economists' conclusions. This may seem counterintuitive: Proponents of the pipeline (and oil drilling in general) have argued that Keystone XL will help increase oil production in Canada, which will mean lower gas prices in the long term.

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The Truth About High Gas Prices

With all the political rhetoric flying, the basic facts about gas prices can get lost.


Tune into a presidential campaign event for a few minutes, and you'll start hearing about gas prices, from both President Obama and the Republicans who want to take his place. With all the political rhetoric flying, the basic facts about gas prices—why they're high, whether drilling for oil can help, how they're connected to solar and wind power—can get lost. Here's what you need to know to keep this issue straight.

Why are gas prices so high? It might come as a surprise to anyone who’s been following the primary, but the answer to this question has little to do with American politics.

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Even in Oil-Rich Iran, Green Transit Ideas Are Catching On

Finding lessons in how green transit can survive and thrive in an unlikely place.

Tehran is not an obvious place for sustainable transportation ideas to thrive. Gas used to cost next to nothing—about 38 cents per gallon—until December, when the government quadrupled the price to about $1.50 per gallon for a monthly ration of about 16 gallons per car, and closer to $3.00 for any amount past that. With gas so cheap, it's no wonder people choose to drive rather than take the train or the bus. In Tehran, in 2008, just over a quarter of all trips were in private and shared taxis, and another 27 percent were in private cars, according to data from the city. Tehran has been designed for cars, too: freeways slice through the city, cutting off neighborhoods from each other.

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Infographic: Offshore Drilling and Oil Subsidies Don't Impact Gas Prices

High gas prices are being used to make the case to preserve Big Oil tax breaks and expand offshore drilling. Here's why neither makes a difference.

Last night, the Senate rejected a bill that would've cut about half of the $4 billion-a-year in tax breaks and subsidies to the five largest oil companies. Today, Republicans are advancing a bill to rapidly expand and speed up offshore drilling. In both instances, the relatively high current prices of gasoline are being used to make the case for making life easier on big oil companies.

We've been spending a lot of time explaining why neither offshore drilling nor oil industry tax breaks have much of any impact on gas prices. Our friends at 350.org just released a great and incredibly comprehensive infographic that ties it all up nicely with a bow. Click on the image below to see the larger version.

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It's Official: Oil Subsidies Don't Keep Gas Prices Down

Oil CEOs are in Washington, D.C. today, defending the $4 billion they get in government subsidies. Thing is, that cash doesn't make gas any cheaper.

Today in the Senate, Majority leader Harry Reid is kicking off an assault on the roughly $4 billion per year of subsidies granted to the oil industry. Rather then redirect that money to programs that will actually cut our oil demand, immediately save American families money, and more efficiently ease gas prices (as we suggested), Reid is putting that $4 billion back in our national coffers, and daring Republicans to vote against reducing the deficit.

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