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Speaker Boehner's Voodoo Math on Gasoline Prices, Keystone

J. Mijin Cha

Let’s set the record straight: the high gas prices we have right now will not go down just because the Keystone XL pipeline is approved. The solution to high gas prices is straightforward: stop trying to go to war with Iran, stop letting Wall Street get away with making massive profits off speculations, and start making real investments in renewable energy.

In a press conference yesterday, Speaker Boehner claimed that 1.) a handful of always "radical" environmental groups stood in the way of a national energy policy 2.) that the President was blocking efforts to expand energy production and 3.) that regulations were driving gas prices up. He also claimed that approving the Keystone pipeline would make us energy self-reliant. All of these assertions are false. 

To begin with, as we’ve written many times before, there is absolutely no guarantee that building the Keystone pipeline will have any impact on our energy supply. In fact, the pipeline will most likely be an export pipeline meaning that while the oil will be refined in the U.S., the end product will be exported to foreign markets. And since the pipeline hasn’t been built yet, it’s unclear how approving it would have any impact on the high gas prices now.

Second, Boehner employs some voodoo math when he blames regulations for high gas prices:

[T]he EPA requires 30 different blends of gasoline to be produced for the summer months in most of the country, and then to try to produce those 30 different blends and then ship them puts an awful lot of demand on the system. As a result, you've got much higher prices.

This is nonsense. If, as Boehner claims, the gasoline blend requirements drive up gas prices to record levels, why don’t we have record levels every summer? Why weren’t they this high last summer, or the summer before that? Plus, the Speaker might want to take note of the reason behind EPA's blending requirement: chemistry. Gasoline needs to be blended differently in the summer months in order to prevent things like gasoline boiling in open containers.

As for “radical environmental groups” holding up a national energy plan, need we remind the Speaker that it is actually his own party that continually sabotages efforts to diversify our energy supply through renewable energy investments? The House GOP has repeatedly voted to gut energy efficiency programs and R&D for energy innovations but still maintain all incentives for fossil fuels—not exactly an “all of the above” approach.

In fact, nothing Speaker Boehner proposed will do anything to impact gas prices. As we pointed out last week, Wall Street manipulation is playing a big part in jacking up gas prices and needs to be reeled in. And, we really will not reach energy independence without both consuming less energy and meaningfully investing in renewables. It’s not voodoo math, it’s just common sense.