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Energy Subsidy Myths and Realities

Playing favorites or ‘all of the above’?

Fortnightly - June 2012

it’s a distinct technology and a separate line item in the DOE budget. Further, when the federal energy agencies were reorganized in the 1970s, geothermal wasn’t classified as a renewable energy technology—and the debate over its classification continues.

5. Regulation can serve as an incentive in various ways, for example, when the government bears regulatory costs—if not covered by producer fees.

6. Current-year expenditures (nominal dollars) were converted into constant 2010 dollars using price deflators derived from data published by OMB, Congressional Budget Office, and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

7. About $42 billion—almost 60 percent—of the total spent on nuclear energy research since 1950 was spent before 1975 to explore a range of reactor concepts and potential applications for military and civilian uses.

8. For example, the oil and gas industries receive substantial financial benefits from tax incentives, such as the tax deductions for intangible drilling and development costs and for percentage depletion.

9. This issue isn’t unique to energy. For example, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (Food Stamps) is one of the nation’s most important anti-poverty programs, but it also has obvious benefits for U.S. agriculture.