Estimating U.S. Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002-2008

Publication Date: November 2009

Publisher: Environmental Law Institute

Author(s): Environmental Law Institute

Research Area: Energy; Environment; Trade

Keywords: renewable energy sources; foreign tax credit; energy subsidies; fossil fuels

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


The largest U.S subsidies to fossil fuels are attributed to tax breaks that aid foreign oil production, according to research released by ELI. The study, which reviewed fossil fuel and energy subsidies for Fiscal Years 2002-2008, reveals that the lion's share of energy subsidies supported energy sources that emit high levels of greenhouse gases. Fossil fuels benefited from approximately $72 billion over the seven-year period, while subsidies for renewable fuels totaled only $29 billion. A related graphic chart illustrates the findings, and a map prepared by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars depicts Energy Flows in the U.S. for 2007.