The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Lubricating Energy Policy

The new report from the Taxpayers for Common Sense shows that oil companies paid just 11.7 percent of their U.S. income in federal taxes over the last five years, and the “smaller” companies included in the study that reported positive earnings only paid 3.7 percent. To achieve such a low tax rate, oil companies were able to take advantage of special tax breaks and loopholes that allowed them to defer more than $17 billion in taxes they would have otherwise owed.

The tax incentives for the biofuels industry is just shy of $7 billion per year, but the biofuels industry does conform to the statutory tax rate. Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation crows that the petroleum industry receives no tax subsidies. But the fact is they receive 17 subsidies allowing them to defer taxes, and they are the richest industries on earth.

In 2010, 54 of the world’s wealthiest 500 companies were in the oil and gas industry. These 54 companies had a combined market value of $4.17 trillion and accounted for 15.9 percent of the wealth.

The report concludes that although the industry claims it pays a high federal income tax rate, with the American Petroleum Institute citing an industry-wide effective tax rate of 44.3 percent, "In reality, the amount oil and gas companies pay in federal income tax is considerably less than the statutory rate of 35 percent, thanks to the convoluted system of tax provisions allowing them to avoid and defer federal income taxes.”

The U.S. Congress has a host of expiring tax credits, including the wind production tax credit (PTC), and it whines about cost of these incentives. But somehow the the Republican leadership and oil-state Democrats treat the entire portfolio of oil tax benefits (translated as lost federal tax income) as a “tax increase." According to Congressional Joint Economic Committee, these benefits (including the subsidized royalty agreements) add up to $80 billion in future tax subsidies. Journalist Todd Neeley concluded that oil subsidies total $133.2 billion to $280.8 billion annually.

We all know there is “energy fantasy” in Washington, D.C., which is partly due to the fact that fossil industries are huge political givers. According to PriceofOil.com: 

  • 2010 amount given to fossils in federal subsidies: $11,578,900,000
  • Total amount given to fossils during 111th Congress: $20,489,340,000

new report from the Sierra Club and Oil Change International found that the oil, natural gas and coal industries increased their political contributions by a jaw-dropping 11,761 percent from 2008 to 2012.

The Washington comedians say “we have the best Congress money can buy."  But frankly, it’s no joke.

Lead image: Oil barrels and money via Shutterstock

RELATED ARTICLES

Is the Spanish Government Putting the Brakes on Solar PV?

US Capitol

Republicans and Democrats Back Bill to Level the Playing Field for Renewable Energy

Vince Font, Contributing Editor U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Jerry Moran are leading a bipartisan effort to reintroduce tax code legislation aimed at leveling the playing field for renewable energy investment. The Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act w...

US Department of Energy To Fund Bioenergy Technologies Incubators

Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest

In Washington, the US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy said that it intends to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement entitled “Bioenergy Technologies Incubator 2" (BETO).

Pope Francis

The Common Goals of the Pope and Clean Energy

Paul Stinson, EDF Pope Francis turned a keen eye toward the environment and the problem of climate change with his encyclical,“Laudato Si” (“Praised Be”). As a clean energy advocate, I’m heartened that Pope Francis recognizes the need t...
Scott, founder and president of The Stella Group, Ltd., in Washington, DC, is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and The Solar Foundation. The Stella G...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

CanWEA Annual Conference and Exhibition

The annual CanWEA Conference & Exhibition has helped companies marke...

CanWEA Winter Solstice Fundraising Dinner

CanWEA Winter Solstice Fundraising Dinner December 1, 2015 Toronto, Ontario

COMPANY BLOGS

A Closer Look at Solar Inverters

One component that all solar systems must include is a solar inverter. I...

How to Reduce Soft Costs With a Critical Path Map

For solar installers, soft costs are a fact of life. However, they don&r...

How Did the Top 10 Solar Cities Fare in 2014?

Solar installations are happening every three minutes in the US, so it s...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS