Coal and Oil Will Cost the US $23 Trillion from 2010-2030, New Study Finds

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An alarming new study has found that between 2010 and 2030, the US will spend an estimated record-breaking $23 trillion on coal and oil. The report found that for the first time, the US spent over $1 trillion on fossil fuels in 2008--and the trend is only growing. By 2030, it warns there's a good chance we'll be spending a staggering $1.7 trillion a year to sate our coal and oil demands. The report, called The High Cost of Fossil Fuels, was released by Environment America today. From the study:

American consumers and businesses already spend roughly $700 billion to $1 trillion each year on coal, oil and natural gas, and suffer the incalculable costs of pollution from fossil fuels through damage to our health and environment. If America continues along a business-asusual energy path, U.S. fossil fuel spending is likely to grow, totaling an estimated $23 trillion between 2010 and 2030.
And note that those figures don't include the costs of cleaning up spills, dealing with adverse environmental health effects from emissions, and other major costs of pollution these industries create.

Some of the study's other key findings are just as startling. Consider:

  • The United States depends on fossil fuels for 85 percent of our
    energy supply.

  • In 2006, American consumers and businesses spent $921 billion—or close to 7 percent of America’s gross domestic product—on fossil fuels, more than the nation spends on education or the military. In 2008, national expenditures on fossil fuels likely topped $1 trillion for the first time ever. Each year, more than 70 percent of this money is spent on oil.

  • In 2007, America spent more than $360 billion importing fossil fuels, with the vast majority of that money spent on crude oil. That money is a direct transfer of wealth from American consumers to oil companies and foreign governments.

  • For every dollar that an American household spends each year, about 10 cents are likely to go toward the purchase of energy, with most of that money spent on fossil fuels.
Those figures should be enough to get even the most ardent Drill, Baby, Drill advocate thinking.

One more thing worth noting--the most dire projections find that the climate bill, which is designed to encourage a shift from a fossil fuel-based energy economy to a clean one, would end up costing American families an extra $1,500 a year. And even though that figure has been debunked, let's compare costs: by 2030, the $1.7 trillion a year we'll be spending on fossil fuels means we'll have seen an increase in costs of fossil fuel of around $1,500 for every single person in the US.

So you could make the (overly simple, granted) argument that the cost of not shifting towards cleaner energy is 3-4 times that of the most dire (and largely distorted) estimates of the climate bill. It's yet another incentive to keep the clean energy train rolling--one that doesn't even need to mention climate change.

Read the full report, The High Cost of Fossil Fuels.

More on Coal and Oil Costs
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