Americans are already paying an average of $4 for a gallon of gasoline these days. And if Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer succeeds in shutting down Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, consumers will pay even more in the Midwest.
Ms. Whitmer is fighting Enbridge in state and federal court with the goal of compelling the closure of Line 5, a crucial pipeline carrying fossil fuels between Canada and several U.S. states. Her campaign is contrary to a U.S. treaty with Canada, not that she seems to care.
But maybe in an election year she’ll care that if she prevails, consumers in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Pennsylvania will pay an additional $4.756 billion or more each year for gasoline and diesel fuel, according to a new report from the Consumer Energy Alliance, a business and consumer advocacy group.
Line 5 moves more than half a million barrels of oil and natural gas liquids each day throughout Canada and the Great Lakes region, and there’s no ready alternative to transport this amount of energy. The report predicts a closure would mean that “refineries in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ontario, and Quebec would lose about 45% of their crude oil input.” They’d have to scale back operations or shut down, which would constrict the fuel supply and jack up the price of gasoline and diesel for years.
Researchers Bernard Weinstein and Terry Clower looked for a precedent when a region’s refineries had to shut down for extended durations. They found only natural disasters like hurricanes created comparable disruptions to the energy supply chain.
Their study estimates Ms. Whitmer’s bow to the climate lobby would drive up the cost of gasoline and diesel from 9.47% to 11.66%. The authors say this estimate is “independent of any other market conditions, such as the surge in fuel prices observed over the past 12 months that are tied to international oil markets and logistical challenges caused by the pandemic.”
At at time when the U.S. should be focusing on energy stability and security, Ms. Whitmer’s ideological hostility to pipelines threatens more economic harm and consumer pain.