but gas subsidies are among the worst. That’s the message of this editorial from Bloomberg:
Nations from the U.S. to the U.K. to Russia continue to spend billions on tax breaks and other subsidies for the production of oil, gas and coal. Japan, South Korea and China support massive fossil-fuel projects outside their borders. For years, many countries — including some of the world’s biggest energy producers — have also used subsidies to lower gasoline and diesel prices, supposedly to help the poor.
The sums involved are huge. The International Energy Agency estimates that countries spent $493 billion on consumption subsidies for fossil fuels in 2014. The U.K.’s Overseas Development Institute suggests G-20 countries alone devoted an additional $450 billion to producer supports that year.
Of the fuel subsidies the very worst are consumption subsidies. The worst offenders, as reported here (Excel), is basically a list of the usual suspects:
|United Arab Emirates||21.8|
Consumer subsidies aren’t the only kind. China, Japan, and South Korea in particular also devote tens of billions to subsidizing oil exploration outside their countries.
Lest we be too complacent in the U. S. fuel subsidies tend to take the form of subsidies to companies (oil companies, auto manufacturers) and road building.
It’s astonishing to me that there is as much of a bipartisan consensus in support of this particular form of corporate welfare in the U. S. as there is. It resists the usual ideological stereotyping.
Both parties should oppose these fuel subsidies, each for their own particular reasons. And yet somehow they keep trundling along, a seemingly permanent part of our fiscal profligacy.