Government subsidies for oil: $15 to $33 billion dollars a year
On news this week that the newly-elected U.S. Democratic congress is considering playing Robin Hood, and taking at least some money previously allocated for oil and gas and reallocating it to renewable energy, we thought it'd be useful to look into fossil fuel subsidies and how they work.
First - how much money are we talking about?
Figuring out exactly, or even roughly, how much oil companies receive in subsidy turns out to be a complicated challenge.
Greenpeace believes Europeans spend about $10 billion or so (USD equivalent) annually to subsidize fossil fuels. By contrast, it thinks the American oil and gas industry might receive anywhere between $15 billion and $35 billion a year in subsidies from taxpayers.
Why such a large margin of error? The exact number is slippery and hard to quantify, given the myriad of programs that can be broadly characterized as subsidies when it comes to fossil fuels.