Imagine having to pay 15 bucks for a gallon of gas. Perhaps you already are.
When you pay your X amount per gallon at the pump, what you’re not paying for (directly) are the externalities. These are costs such as the amount spent on defending oil supplies, subsidies and tax breaks for oil companies (such as oil spill cleanup deductions).
For example, in late July, BP said it would claim a $9.9 billion taxation credit from the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico cleanup.
Add to all this the effects of fossil fuel combustion on health and even oil’s role in global warming already impacting on economies.
Those externalities are paid for in part in your taxes. Tax deductions for the oil companies also means less going into the government’s coffers, which negatively impacts on funding for health, education.. and renewable energy.
For a more detailed look at the real cost of gas, check out this article on AlterNet.
While on the topic of oil spills, satire news site The Onion has flagged the oil spill that’s happening in every country, every minute of the day, every day – the oil spill in our cars. Sure, it’s tongue-in-cheek; but it really gave me pause for thought at how we all expressed outrage over the Gulf oil spill, but it’s business as usual for the “oil spills” each of us who owns a car creates.
Taking all this into consideration, renewable energy is not only cleaner, but could be a whole lot cheaper by comparison by now too if the fossil fuel sector wasn’t so adept at hiding the real price of oil and government so complicit in allowing it to happen. While we won’t break our oil addiction overnight, we need to continue to exert pressure on those in power to ensure renewable energy industries such as the solar power sector get the support they need.