Energy costs nearly double for half of U.S. families

A shocking new study prepared by environmental attorney and energy economist Eugene M. Trisko for ACCCE demonstrates that nearly half of U.S. families have had their energy costs double in the past ten years.

As we have written repeatedly on this blog, the impacts of extreme regulation and the imposition of renewable portfolio standards are necessarily forcing energy prices into the stratosphere. Trisko’s study describes how,

  • Energy costs are growing and eating up a disproportionate share of low and fixed-income families’ budgets. The 60 million households that earn less than $50,000 per year, or half of all U.S. families, will devote an estimated 21 percent of their after-tax incomes to energy, compared to 12 percent spent in 2001.
  • Energy cost burdens are greatest on the poorest families. The energy bills of families earning less than $10,000 have risen to 78 percent of their after-tax income.
  • Minority families are burdened by higher energy costs. More than 60 percent of Black and Hispanic families had pre-tax household incomes below $50,000 in 2010, compared with 39 percent for Asian families and 46 percent for white households.
  • Lower and fixed-income senior households are among those most vulnerable to energy price increases. Food, health care and other necessities compete with energy for a share of the household budget. The $31,408 median income of senior U.S. households means that half of these households depend on incomes below this level.
  • Electricity is the bargain among all consumer energy products. This is due, in part, to the utility industry’s reliance on affordable coal.  Electricity prices have increased by 51 percent in nominal dollars since 1990, while the nominal prices of residential natural gas and gasoline have nearly doubled and tripled, respectively.
  • EPA regulations drive up electricity prices. Virtually all of the residential electricity price increases over the past two decades have occurred since 2000.  These increases are due in part to additional capital, operating and maintenance costs associated with meeting clean air and other environmental standards.

Download the full study from the Behind the Plug blog.

22. February 2012 by Jason Hayes
Categories: Energy, Environment, EPA, Marketplace Information, Policy, Regulation, Utilities | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Energy costs nearly double for half of U.S. families