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Subsidizing Fossil Fuels: $72 billion (vs $29 billion)

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On July 15, 2010 @ 3:00 pm In Digital Media,Energy | Comments Disabled

I’m a gearhead. I like the sound a V8 or V12 makes when I mash down my right foot and those pretty butterflies open up.

But I am not unaware of the external costs of my hobbies. Which is why I found this research piece, titled Energy Subsidies Favor Fossil Fuels Over Renewables [1], rather interesting. It turns out, according to this one analysis, that the vast majority of federal energy subsidies are for fossil fuels rather than to renewables or new alternative technologies: $72 billion vs $29 billion over the same period. (These are direct subsidies, tax breaks, etc., and do not include things like the military budget).

The question I have is given how wealthy Oil and natural gas firms are, why on earth are we subsidizing them at all?




The vast majority of subsidy dollars to fossil fuels can be attributed to just a handful of tax breaks,

Note: Almost half of the subsidies for renewables are attributable to corn-based ethanol.


Estimating U.S. Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002-2008 [3]
Environmental Law Institute, September 2009

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URLs in this post:

[1] Energy Subsidies Favor Fossil Fuels Over Renewables: http://www.eli.org/Program_Areas/innovation_governance_energy.cfm

[2] Image: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/fossilfuels.jpg

[3] Estimating U.S. Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002-2008: http://www.elistore.org/Data/products/d19_07.pdf

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