House GOP repeat in unison the petroleum industry falsehood that CBO finds the Waxman-Markey bill would raise gasoline prices 77 cents a gallon

The House GOP loves to repeat falsehoods about climate and clean energy action (see “MIT Professor tells GOP to stop ‘misrepresenting’ his work and inflating the cost to families of cap-and-trade by a factor of 10” and then again three weeks later, MIT Professor says GOP “misrepresentation” of his April 2007 study to project costs for Waxman-Markey is “inappropriate,” “silly” and “just wrong”).

If you are listening to the House floor debate over the “rule” that will set the terms of the debate for Waxman-Markey, then you’ve heard pretty much every Republican repeat the claim that the Congressional Budget Office found that W-M would add $.77 a gallon to the price of gasoline in the next decade.

That charge is false.  It comes from the American Petroleum Institute, (see here) which decided to ignore the actual CBO analysis and offer its own instead, claiming it is what CBO found.  The API is a strong opponent of the bill and has been pushing disinformation on global warming for more than a decade.

As a study by 5 national laboratories noted in1998, “$50 per tonne of carbon [$14 a tonne of carbon dioxide] corresponds to 12.5 cents per gallon of gasoline.”

To cause a $.77 increase in gasoline prices, the climate bill would have to result in greenhouse gas allowance prices of some $85 a ton of CO2. Now you can go to Table 3 of the CBO analysis yourself, and you’ll see that CBO estimates the allowance price will hit $26 a ton in 2019 — and that is in actual (not inflation-adjusted) dollars.  In 2008 dollars, that would be closer to $21 to $22.  So in fact the CBO estimates that gasoline prices in 2019 would be about 20 cents a gallon higher than today (in constant dollars). And that’s a lot lower than the price will rise if we don’t take strong action to jumpstart the transition to a cleaner, more efficient energy system.

In fact, CBO found, “Waxman-Markey cuts U.S. GHGs sharply but costs only a postage stamp a day “” without counting the efficiency savings.”

25 Responses to House GOP repeat in unison the petroleum industry falsehood that CBO finds the Waxman-Markey bill would raise gasoline prices 77 cents a gallon

  1. charlie says:

    I’m sure the threat of a 20 cents increase in the gas tax in 2019 is going to really reduce demand for gasoline. We need a dedicated gas tax increase on top of this.

  2. Leland Palmer says:

    It appears that the GOP loves the idea of global warming, and wants to get on with it. Nothing else can really explain such massive lying, except massive financial influence by huge corporations, that think that global warming is in their self-interest.

    I’ve posted before about the efforts of Scott Borgerson of the Council on Foreign Relations, whose articles in the NYT, numerous newspapers, interviews with Dan Rather, and testimony before Congress is promoting the idea that the Arctic is full of valuable resources that should be exploited.

    It appears that Wall Street looks forward to going after the 90 billion barrels of oil thought to be under the Arctic icecap, and also immense reserves of natural gas and methane hydrate in the Arctic.

    Good plan- except that the positive feedback from global warming could easily send the climate system out of control, and create a methane catastrophe which could kill most (or even all) life on earth. I don’t think we can go after these resources by melting the polar icecap on any human timescale, without completely destabilizing the climate system.

    Wall Street seems to still be adding up the winners and losers from global warming. Which is why letting bankers and the super-rich have such vast influence is a really bad idea.

    There will be no winners from global warming – only losers.

    The real power and money behind this GOP effort needs to step back, examine their own ideas, consider the possibility that they might be wrong, and change their minds.

    Creating the ultimate disaster for disaster capitalism to feed on will only lead to the loss of power for disaster capitalists, IMO.

  3. Florifulgurator says:

    Sounds doubly ridiculousy to someone used to German gas prices…

  4. Berbalang says:

    Leland Palmer you have hit the nail on the head. Global Warming is a means to an end. The idea is to render the Earth as lifeless as possible so they can drill and mine wherever they want without all this environment getting in the way. To them it seems like a really great idea.

  5. Chris Winter says:

    OT: We interrupt our regularly scheduled floor vote process to note the resignation of Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), who is leaving the House today and getting hitched tomorrow.

    It’s not clear (to me) whether she will be voting on Waxman-Markey.

  6. Either they really do not believe the scientific projections, or they do know them and this is a desperate, vicious plunder before the demise. Again we have to decide: stupid or evil?

  7. Jim Beacon says:

    I continue to be astounded at the GOP. To hammer away at the idea that Waxman-Markey will raise gasoline prices — do they think that no one has noticed that in the past 3 months alone that gasoline prices have *already* gone up 75 cents a gallon WITHOUT Waxman-Markey or any other legislation?

    Do they think our short term memories have been so corrupted by corporate propaganda that we don’t remember that just one year ago gasoline prices jumped up from $2.50 a gallon to over $4 a gallon without any greenhouse gas regulation being enacted?

    Don’t these puppet politicians have any respect left for the American people at all? Even global warming fence sitters know that gasoline prices will continue to rise in the future no matter what legislation is passed to address climate change.

  8. Joe — I’m watching debate on the floor.

    It looks like the tactics of the opposition is to focus on opposition from the farmers. The opposition is being managed on the floor not by the ranking member of the E&C committee, but by the ranking member of the agriculture committee. They’re clearly focusing on the rural democrat swing voters. How do you think to respond?

  9. paulm says:

    The current bill is complex so it is difficult to see what the price fall will be.

    A simple tax on fossil fuels would be much more transparent and easier to manage. Too bad. May be not too late though.

    Big Oil’s Answer to Carbon Law May Be Imports, Idle Refineries –

  10. Keith says:

    “Don’t these puppet politicians have any respect left for the American people at all?”

    No, they know we will continue to sit on our a##es, while they dither and delay. Notably, the Iranians have shown more spine in standing up to their politicians than we have.

    Americans won’t demand the necessary changes in time, so count on abandoning the coasts and southern states and prepare to adapt.

  11. Yuebing says:

    US petroleum industry profits last year were 100 billion dollars, which works out to 73 cents /gallon. Maybe the GOP has got their reports mixed up?

  12. MarkB says:

    “This morning, the House adopted the rule for debate on the climate bill, 217-205”

    Not being very politically savvy, I’m not sure what to make of this vote. This says that at least 25 Democrats voted against even debating the climate bill. It seems that the vote will be close, which isn’t really much of a victory if it passes, as significant Democratic opposition means a long uphill climb in the Senate.

  13. Now I feel like we are the stupid ones.

    We are stupid to continue to believe the lies,
    stupid to think that Congress has our long term best interests at heart,
    stupid of us to forget past transgressions.
    Stupid of us to forgive and allow it to continue.

    Eventually stupidity will end, die or fade away, because:
    Climate trumps politics and
    Physical laws trump any Congressional laws.

  14. Re: “stupid or evil?”

    I suspect that what is going on here is far more pernicious than either. Psychologically, acknowledging the facts about AGW would involve a more or less explicit acknowledgement of the gross failure of their underlying ideology.

    We are not just demanding that they deal honestly with facts, regardless that the basic facts (at least) have long been beyond even the possibility of reasoned dispute. We are ultimately demanding that they deal honestly with the fact that their entire life-style and frame of interpreting the world and themselves is at best fundamentally flawed, and at worst “stupid or evil.” They are vanishingly rare individuals indeed who can face such a conclusion about themselves.

    “It is easier to wean a miser from his hoard than a man from his deeper opinions” — John Dewey.

  15. Yuebing says:

    The most important outcome of HR2454 will be to reduce government (taxpayer) supports for fossil fuels.

    The energy lobbyists (and their representatives) are fighting the emergence of a country where their dirty expensive products have to compete fairly against clean renewables and efficiency. As well they should be.

    Given half a chance, and a level playing field, their fossil fuel world goes the way of kerosene lamps. Into the history books.

  16. Yuebing says:

    Clearly, the Republicans don’t want to make America’s energy here at home from the sun and wind. They would prefer to drag this country into false wars in the middle east, or give money to countries which hate us.

  17. Chris Winter says:

    What’s up with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)? He doesn’t know where to get the latest 300-page addition to HR 2454. Told it was printed in the Rules Committee proceeding, he is still puzzled. Joe Barton comes to his rescue.

  18. Chris Winter says:

    This minor disruption over, the debate resumes. There is a full copy of the bill at the desk. It’s in two parts: the latest 300 pages, and the rest, developed earlier. (Apparently the Republicans forgot that one of them was waving the 300-page portion earlier today while offering his comments.)

  19. Rick Covert says:


    The Reps not only think our attention span is short they think its only lasts two seconds.

  20. paulm says:


    Now lets phase out those coal plants, like yesterday!

  21. Steve says:

    Could someone please explain the following: Back the late 70’s scientists were warning of a impending Ice Age. 30 years later we are having a debate over global warming. Over the last 30 years we have passed numerous clean air acts, removing hundreds of billions tons of pollutants. So my questions are as follows:

    1) Is the air cleaner today than it was in 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000?
    2) What is the actually weight of the entire amtosphere?
    3) How much previous unused land in 1970 is now paved or developed?
    4) How much CO2 is produced from every man, woman and child on this planet just from breathing?
    5) Why is that CO2 is considered a greenhouse gas when water vapor is not?
    6) Explain why yearly tree growth has increased over the last 20 years.
    7) Please explain why the rates of glaucoma have increased 10 fold over the last 5 years?

    I have no problem with energy conversation, I hate paying my gas and electric bills. But wouldn’t be ironic that cleaner air legisaltion is actually the true cause of global warming

  22. John Pearson says:

    here is the thing which will stall any worldwide agreement on climate action. the 3rd world will look to the west for suppport to help with environmental change which they can blame on the west, and the west wont want to pay.
    I travel widley with the oil business, and have seen first hand what is happening in the developing world. the worst place I have seen is Port Harcourt in Nigeria, a city of several millions (nobody has any idea how many people there actually are there). the city streets, which are no more than gaps between the buildings full of holes you could loose a bus in, are absolutley packed solid with cars. the reason for this is cheap petrol, the price of which is fixed by the government at 70 Nira a litre. there are around 150 Nira to the $US, so it works out arround $1.70 a gallon. the average condition of the cars could be described as scrap. the comlpete lack of any proper maintenance of these aging cars leaves them with emissions outputs probably hundreds of times what the manufacturer intended when they made them in the 80’s and 90’s.
    for any progress to be made this sort of thing must be stopped. there must be global agreement of enforced emissions controls on cars, and a fuel taxation shceme similar to europe. In the UK (and most of europe) we pay approx $6 per gallon, which makes us very careful about how we use our fuel. this attention to efficiency is what is needed in the US, the people need to accept that energy is expensive.

  23. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi Richard Pauli

    Either they really do not believe the scientific projections, or they do know them and this is a desperate, vicious plunder before the demise. Again we have to decide: stupid or evil?

    Well, any group that can persuade the U.S. government and the U.S. people to launch an invasion of the Middle East that is not in the interest of the majority of people in the country is not stupid.

    Any group that can make and manage and perhaps conceal trillions of dollars worth of control of industrial wealth is definitely not stupid.

    They’re definitely not stupid.

    What does that leave?

  24. Karl says:

    Aren’t we talking here about predictions or projections of future prices? It seems a bit extreme to call someone’s prediction a lie, for it suggests that you have absolute, certain knowledge about the future. If you do, I’d like to get some investing advice.

  25. David B. Benson says:

    Steve — No, scientists did no such thing. Only journalists, interested in selling “news” magazines.

    Check out