Introducing Fact Check Friday

In addition to bringing people together to support the Line 3 replacement, we are also committed to bringing another voice and more information to issues connected to this project.

While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, facts are a very different matter.  It is important to make sure data, information, and other details related to Line 3, pipelines, and our economy are accurate and the full set of facts are told and not just those that support a specific agenda.  Too often information that is wrong or incomplete is shared by the media and others by intent or by accident.  It is sometimes designed to confuse or challenge established facts that support rebuilding the pipeline.

To counter this and make sure there is both accurate information and accountability we are launching an ongoing feature that we will share with you and others every week.  It’s called “Fact Check Friday” – a way to shine a brighter light on complete information and other content that needs the additional attention.

The focus for our first installment is the recent StarTribune story that looked into why we need more capacity to transport oil and how some question if that is the case.

Fact Checked Article:

Central to Enbridge’s new Minnesota pipeline request is how much oil is needed

Fact Check:

“It (the Department of Commerce) sees the oil market quite differently. Pipeline apportionment is inconvenient, the department says, but not economically damaging: Flint Hills and Minnesota’s other refinery in St. Paul Park are adequately supplied for their needs.”

The Facts 1:

“Apportionment” in pipeline terms means that someone who has oil (supplier) wants to sell at a certain price to a buyer who wants it at that price.  The shipper (pipeline) cannot make deliveries because all the pipeline is full. The oil supplier then does not sell and the buyer has to go elsewhere and buy something different which in most every case means at a higher price if not a lower quality product, pretty simple.

This is a perfect example of the Law of Supply and Demand, a basic economics principle taught at the beginning of each and every Econ 101 class. Apportionment is not just “inconvenient” but directly affects the market and economy by forcing buyers to pay higher prices or buy lower quality products due to the high demand but low or unreliable supply. Because buyers are paying higher prices, they then have to charge their customers who use this resource a higher price and this is not something that can be debated.

In reality, people who depend on gasoline made from crude oil to drive their car, fuel to heat their home and cook their family dinner will be the ones paying the bigger bill.  This is because the Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) thinks that apportionment of this necessary resource is simply “inconvenient”. The Department of Commerce stating this to “not be economically damaging” is simply untrue.

Fact Check 2:

“Commerce questions the accuracy of Enbridge’s oil forecasts. Demand for gasoline and diesel fuel, it says, is likely to fall in the long-term as electric vehicles take off and fuel efficiency grows in traditional cars. [ . . . ] The wild card in the oil demand outlook is the future of electric vehicles (EVs).”

The Facts:

Roughly 75% of every barrel of oil goes to gasoline, diesel, home heating oil, and motor oils. Though there is no doubt that there will be more electronic vehicle’s on the road I years to come with fuel efficiency continuing to get better, the demand for the other 25% of every barrel of oil is steadily growing with nothing slowing it down.

While I have no problem with anyone questioning anything, in the context of the article it clearly implies they do not agree.  I am not sure what they base that on other than they “think” (wish) it is wrong.  There is not “fact” to back that “thought” up and keep in mind these forecast are done by those who have intimate knowledge of the industry (consumption) and not an elected official…..

There are a lot of unanswered questions and unforeseen variables that will affect our ability to accurately predict the future of electronic vehicles.  What we do know and can predict is that we will still need reliable energy supplies to keep warm in the winter and get to work on time regardless of how many of us will be driving electric vehicles.