USA: The high cost of fossil fuels 3


the-high-cost-of-fossil-fuelsAccording to a recent report published by a US environmental organization, fossil fuels are due to cost the United States up to $23 trillion between 2010 and 2030. To TreeHugger, these energy sources cost one trillion in 2008 alone.

85 percent of US energy comes from coal, oil and natural gas. This leaves only 15 percent to low carbon energy sources. Energy efficiency would enable American businesses and citizens to save huge amounts of money.

In this regard, both the new mileage requirements and cap-and-trade are steps in the right direction but are to little to really change the situation.

As we have seen previously the new mileage requirement – around 36 MPG by 2016 for US cars – is dramatically behind the European mileages which are due to reach the equivalent of 47 MPG by 2012.

I was at that time advocating that the US mileage reach 50 MPG by 2015. To TreeHugger, Chinese cars already get 43 MPG…

Cap and Trade also represents a step in the right direction but falls short in terms of greenhouse gases emissions reduction. The French financial daily Les Echos published a graph worth reproducing here.

United-states-greenhouse-gases-emissions-les-echosClick to enlarge – Image credit: Les Echos [Fr]

The red line represents the US greenhouse gases emissions, which increased by nearly 20 percent since 1990 and would decrease little beyond 1990 levels in 2020.

It is worth noting that the IPCC advocates to cut these emissions at least by 25 percent below these levels in the next 10 years. The trend continuation for the European show that cutting by 20 or 30 percent is feasible.

Back to the study, it is interesting to note that :

  • 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.

For more, please check out the official page of the study.

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

To conclude, I would like to remind you that we have seen that America can dramatically cut its energy use. Cf:

If solutions exist, why wouldn’t America apply them ?


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3 thoughts on “USA: The high cost of fossil fuels

  • Ruedigar

    I appreciated your comment on my article regarding nuclear energy. While nuclear energy is an option, I feel that there are better options out there.
    Steps are being taken in the right direction, but, more than anything, mindsets must be changed. There is no ONE answer to the climate crisis. The answer is not solely nuclear; nor is it solely solar. True change will come from education, which will inspire changes in lifestyle, which will lead to more energy efficiency and more carbon-independent forms of energy.
    And education isn’t close-minded. True education has no agenda. True education is the acceptance of ALL information. Only then can correct decisions be made.
    That is what I hope to do through my posts. I’m not saying that one way is better than another. I’m saying that we need to look at the cards in our hand and play what we can. Not jsut in the U.S. but on a global scale.

  • Edouard Post author

    Thanks Ruedigar for your comment. I hope you will keep reading this blog and commenting.

    I totally agree with you on how there is not a single solution to climate change, there are many :

    – the best of all is energy efficiency and conservation (it’s also the cheapest solution) ;
    – then comes renewables and nuclear.

    Renewables are so numerous and complementary that we as Mankind should tap much more on them. We need is a mix of all these solutions, it can be done.

    But we got to keep in mind that renewables alone won’t enable us to go anywhere, efficiency and conservation once again truly matter. (see why with my note on the climate change paradox)

    Information is indeed critical, your work at GreenOptions is part of that, what I do here is part of that.

    I look forward to reading from you soon, meanwhile, good luck !