Report: Oil Slickers – How Petroleum Benefits at the Taxpayer’s Expense

Date: 24 May 1997 | posted in: Energy, From the Desk of David Morris, The Public Good | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Market economies work best when they rely on accurate prices. Yet many of the prices we pay do not reflect the full costs of producing, using and disposing the goods we consume. The most important example of this mismatch may occur in the transportation sector.

The price we pay at the pump for gasoline and diesel bears little relationship to the real cost of petroleum.

To determine the per gallon subsidies given to petroleum the Institute for Local Self-Reliance asked Dr. Jenny Wahl to review the existing literature on the subject. Dr. Wahl is a most fitting person to undertake this task. She is one of the nation’s eminent tax analysts and economists. An Associate Professor of Economics at Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, Dr. Wahl has worked in the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Analysis and is a member of the Star Tribune’s Board of Economists.

This 1996 report provides her estimate and the methodology she used to arrive at her numbers.

Download the Full Report:  Oil Slickers: How Petroleum Benefits at the Taxpayer’s Expense

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David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and currently ILSR's distinguished fellow. His five non-fiction books range from an analysis of Chilean development to the future of electric power to the transformation of cities and neighborhoods.  For 14 years he was a regular columnist for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. His essays on public policy have appeared in the New York TimesWall Street Journal, Washington PostSalonAlternetCommon Dreams, and the Huffington Post.