“Most mainstream economists say production decisions in the United States cannot affect world oil prices,” Weeks writes. Because oil is traded worldwide, geopolitical developments steer prices, and experts say “volatile energy costs are inescapable as long as America relies heavily on oil.”
Weeks’ report includes analysis of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, which would carry oil from so-called tar sand deposits in western Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Advocates say the pipeline would generate jobs and make more oil available from a friendly ally. But environmentalists strongly oppose the project, arguing that it would consume huge amounts of water, create toxic waste and greenhouse gas emissions and damage Canadian forests and rivers.