Congresswoman Kristi Noem continues to demonstrate that she is not paying attention to anything other than the talking points her handlers hand her. In another unannounced drop-in, Rep. Noem showed up at an economic roundtable in Yankton to spout propaganda for the Keystone XL pipeline. She made the wishful claim that approving the Keystone XL pipeline would "drastically" reduce gas prices overnight.

But when quizzed about news reports discussing energy analyst Philip Verleger's conclusion that Keystone XL will increase gasoline prices, Noem whimpers that she is unfamiliar with those reports.

Unfamiliar?! Kristi, really? I've been reporting Verleger's analysis and TransCanada's own documents showing the price-increase business case for over a year. Even advocates giving Keystone XL serious study must be aware of the counter-arguments to your common economic assumption. Do you not read, Rep. Noem?

I asked Senator John Thune about the Keystone XL-gas price increase issue last month; he dodged the question as well. But he at least didn't make the silly claim that he had heard of no such evidence.

But let's look at Rep. Noem's claim that merely approving the Keystone XL pipeline would drastically reduce gas prices overnight. TransCanada's original Keystone 1 pipeline, which now pumps maybe half a million barrels per day of Canadian tar sands oil beneath eastern South Dakota, received State Department approval four years ago, on March 11, 2008. The Energy Information Administration provides the following data on gasoline prices around that time:

Date Weekly U.S. Regular Conventional Retail Gasoline Prices (Dollars per Gallon) Weekly Midwest Regular Conventional Retail Gasoline Prices (Dollars per Gallon)
Feb 25, 2008 $3.12 $3.08
Mar 03, 2008 $3.14 $3.08
Mar 10, 2008 $3.20 $3.19
Mar 17, 2008 $3.26 $3.24
Mar 24, 2008 $3.22 $3.18
Mar 31, 2008 $3.26 $3.23
Apr 07, 2008 $3.30 $3.28
Apr 14, 2008 $3.35 $3.34
Apr 21, 2008 $3.47 $3.45
Apr 28, 2008 $3.57 $3.55
May 05, 2008 $3.57 $3.56
May 12, 2008 $3.69 $3.72
May 19, 2008 $3.76 $3.78
May 26, 2008 $3.91 $3.93
Jun 02, 2008 $3.93 $3.93
Jun 09, 2008 $3.98 $3.97
Jun 16, 2008 $4.01 $3.98

Hmm... massive Canadian tar sands pipeline approved, and no drastic overnight decrease in fuel prices.

Nor did the actual operation of Keystone 1 produce any drastic change in gas prices. June 2010 gasoline prices here in the Midwest were around $2.70 a gallon. They floated around that level the rest of the summer, then climbed to about $3.00 by Christmas 2010 and haven't dropped below that price since. (This week's average Midwest price: $3.78 per gallon.)

Neither the approval nor the operation of the Keystone 1 pipeline lowered gas prices in South Dakota. Energy analysts and TransCanada itself say Keystone XL will raise our gas prices. Rep. Noem willfully ignores these facts.