Aug. 30, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

The Costs of the Cap-and-Trade Bill

But that is not even the worst part of it. As a result of the markup of carbon costs, a lot of those working families will be out of work and unable to pay their existing bills, let alone new ones. Consider: Burning one ton of coal produces about three tons of CO2. So a tax of $15 per ton of CO2 emitted is equivalent to a tax of $45/ton on coal. The price of Eastern anthracite coal runs in the neighborhood of $45/ton, so under the proposed system, such coal would be taxed at a rate of about 100 percent. The price of Western bituminous coal is currently about $12/ton. This coal would therefore be taxed at a rate of almost 400 percent. Coal provides half of America’s electricity, so such extraordinary imposts could easily double the electric bills paid by consumers and businesses across half the nation. In addition, many businesses, such as the metals and chemical industries, use a great deal of coal directly. By doubling or potentially even quadrupling the cost of their most basic feedstock, the cap-and-trade system’s indulgence fees could make many such businesses uncompetitive and ultimately throw millions of working men and women onto the unemployment lines.A gallon of petroleum-derived liquid fuel produces about 20 pounds, or 1 percent of a ton, of CO2 when burned. But it takes about 1.5 gallons of oil to produce one gallon of refined liquid fuel. So a $15/ton tax on CO2 emissions will also cause an increase in the price of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel on the order of $0.22/gallon. This will not only hit consumers’ pockets, but increase transport costs throughout the economy, thereby disabling businesses and increasing unemployment levels still more. While harming the economy, such a gas tax will do nothing material toward the truly essential goal of decreasing America’s dependence on foreign oil. Indeed, the bill’s dramatic hikes in electricity costs will have the opposite effect, since only 3 percent of America’s electricity is derived from oil, and by forcefully increasing electric power costs, the bill will actually discourage adoption of electric means of transport, including mass-transit systems today and potentially plug-in hybrid cars in the future. America’s dependence on foreign oil could be substantially relieved by legislation requiring that new cars sold in the United States be flex-fueled and thus able to run equally well on alcohol fuels derived from a multitude of nonpetroleum sources, but the bill’s provisions in this area are so weak as to be worthless.

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