NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Political Energy: We All Lose

October 31, 2012

The debate over energy production has become muddled with lobbyists and companies spending millions to influence policymakers and the general public that their particular source of energy is the best, says Robert L. Bradley, Jr., CEO and founder of the Institute for Energy Research.

  • More than $153 million has been spent on energy-related television ads.
  • That money could have been used to finance nearly 367 U.S. natural gas wells.
  • That number of wells would have supported 400 jobs each, or nearly 150,000 jobs total.

The blame for the constant lobbying and advertisements can be placed on the government. The federal government is responsible for creating an uneven playing field by offering many forms of subsidies to different energy sources, which all industries are trying to be a part of.

Because of this, the best source of energy is no longer chosen on the basis of which one provides the most energy at the cheapest rates. Instead, energy prices have gone up as subsidies distort the market for energy. For example, regulations on the coal industry are an effort to promote green energy. However, coal production has declined, forcing companies to lay off thousands of workers.

In the status quo, the government is trying to make clean energy technologies cost competitive with little success. If the government were to stop intervening, the free market would decide the best source of energy based on production and costs. In this scenario, any money that would be spent on lobbying or advertisements could be used by companies to reinvest in research and development or create new jobs.

Source: Robert L. Bradley, Jr., "Political Energy: We All Lose," Huffington Post, October 22, 2012.


Browse more articles on Environment Issues