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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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