Understanding the Basics of Energy Taxes
An energy tax is a fee that increases the cost of energy consumed by society. Proponents of energy taxes have cited both social and macroeconomic goals, i.e., economic balance and environmental improvement, as reasons for energy tax increases. This can be viewed as a tool used by taxpayers to adjust prices, which have been increasing steadily over the years, to correct an unfixable problem. The problem, in this case, is essentially twofold: first, the increased cost of energy, which is beyond the consumers’ ability to bear; and second, the fact that governments, through their policies, are attempting to curb this increase in energy costs, thus allowing consumers to shift to cheaper energy sources, which, if they do so, will reduce the overall burden being imposed upon them. It seems that all three reasons are valid. However, the effectiveness of such efforts may still be limited.
Primarily, as noted above, energy taxation may increase prices paid
by households and companies to make up for the increased production of carbon emissions, which are a major cause of global warming. While this may be a partial solution, it does nothing to slow or reverse the process, which is likely to continue unabated. In addition, it does nothing to reduce energy consumption. The increased cost associated with the installation of renewable energy sources may push consumers to turn to more traditional sources of electricity, thereby reducing the effectiveness of any further attempts at reducing carbon emissions.
Secondly, an energy tax would increase the cost of energy production.
One argument advanced against renewable energy taxes is that, because the production of energy reduces the cost of production, the government should not increase its expenditure on them. The proponents of such taxes, however, argue that the production of energy through renewable means is not necessary to meet the energy needs of the population as is argued by opponents. It is argued that current technology already provides enough energy to meet the demand. It is also argued that the cost of installing renewable energy systems, including wind and solar power systems, is economically viable.
Currently, the United States has no method of providing rebates
to individuals for the installation of solar panels or wind turbines. There is, however, a provision that allows the states to impose a rebate on the purchase and installation of residential natural gas and electricity. If a state offers these rebates to eligible residents, they would receive a credit on the amount of energy that comes from those sources. Those individuals would then have to pay the applicable tax on this amount.
Further, the United States does not currently have any mechanism
to provide incentives for increasing the use of wind and solar power. The only way that the United States could effectuate an increase in the use of these alternative sources of energy is if the government-mandated a carbon tax. In doing so, the government could provide incentives for individuals to make the switch to wind and solar power.
Those who are in favor of the incentives
believe that such a mechanism would be beneficial to the government and the American people. However, some groups are against the implementation of such regulations and would prefer to see the government cut funding for the Department of Energy. If the United States does introduce such an initiative, it will likely face fierce opposition from a group of right-wing think tanks. These groups would argue that the government should not interfere with the free market when it comes to energy consumption. However, these groups may sway government policy in favor of encouraging increased energy consumption.