Fact Checks


  • FACT: Fossil fuels have received far greater government support, over a much longer period of time, than renewables have.

  • The oil and gas industries have received approximately $446.96 billion in subsidies from the United States, as opposed to just $5.93 billion for renewables, since 1918. In fact, the average annual subsidization of fossil fuels is more than 13x greater than the average annual subsidization of renewable energy, even though fossil fuels have been receiving government support for 70 years longer than renewables have. (DBL Investors, September 2011, http://bit.ly/N9Isin)

  • In 2011, worldwide pre-tax subsidies for fossil fuels reached $480 billion. On a post-tax basis, in which carbon emissions, environmental damage, and negative public health effects are taken into account, worldwide government subsidies for fossil fuels totaled $1.9 trillion. (International Monetary Fund, January 2013, http://bit.ly/1coLJmn)

  • Eliminating the 12 subsidies for fossil fuels in the U.S. would save $41.4 billion over 10 years without increasing fuel prices, reducing employment, or weakening U.S. energy security. (Brookings Institute, February 2013, http://bit.ly/1h3mDhB)

  • The Section 199 manufacturing credit alone, which applies to oil and gas producers, accounts for over $14 billion in oil and gas tax breaks. (The Joint Committee on Taxation, March 2012, http://1.usa.gov/Pq8hw3)

  • An April, 2014 Gallup poll found that 67% of all Americans – Democrat and Republican – support increased government investment in renewable technologies like wind and solar. In contrast, 51% of Americans were opposed to expanding the use of nuclear power. (Gallup, April 2014, http://bit.ly/1fN5UtH)

  • The April Gallup poll also found 66% of Americans in favor of government investments for alternative fuel vehicles, and 80% of Americans age 18-34 support alternative energy over oil, gas and coal. (Gallup, April 2014, http://bit.ly/1fN5UtH)

  • The Department of Energy loan guarantee program, focused on supporting clean tech, spurred the creation of 55,000 jobs and has a 98% success rate. (U.S. Department of Energy, http://1.usa.gov/RnXROh)

  • Since the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was passed into law in 2005, the number of workers the U.S. solar industry employs has grown by 128,000. (SEIA, January 2014, http://bit.ly/1j0qbzS)

  • Over the lifetime of a solar project, the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) provides a 126% average return on investment to the federal government. (U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance, July 2012, http://bit.ly/1lCrkAZ)

  • In 2012, the Production Tax Credit helped spur $25 billion of investment and supported more than 80,000 jobs. (U.S. Department of Energy, August 2013, http://1.usa.gov/1efAqfw)

  • The 1 year extension of the Production Tax Credit in 2013 likely resulted in a net government benefit of $768 million. (NextEra Energy, http://bit.ly/1fsScQ6)

  • In 2012, global subsidies for fossil fuels amounted to anywhere from $750 billion to over $1 trillion. That does not include the cost of carbon output and pollutant emissions. (Oil Change International, June 2012, http://bit.ly/1fN2nvt)

  • Phasing out global fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 could meet half of the world's carbon reduction goals. (The Guardian, January 2012, http://bit.ly/1h3IBRK)

  • According to the International Energy Agency, fossil-fuel subsidies result in an "economically inefficient allocation of resources and market distortions, while often failing to meet their intended objectives." (International Energy Agency, October 2011, http://bit.ly/1fMKNrB)

  • If the big five oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell – retain their current tax breaks, they will save $73,000 on their taxes for every $1 spent on lobbying in 2013. (Center for American Progress, November 2013, http://bit.ly/1c7CVnb)

  • Of the four permanent energy tax credits in the U.S., three are intended for fossil fuels and one is intended for nuclear energy. (Congressional Budget Office, March 2012, http://1.usa.gov/18P3EyS)

  • The nuclear power industry has received four times more subsidies than the distributed solar industry and has had six times longer to mature. Since the 1950s, California's nuclear power suppliers have received over $8.21 billion in federal support. (DBL Investors, August 2013, http://bit.ly/Ofdeqq)

  • An online petition to end fossil fuel subsidies was signed by over 1,000,000 people. (350.org, June 2013, http://bit.ly/1gOZAGo)

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