Who is hurt most by rising energy costs?

posted at 9:50 am on February 8, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

We’ve been sounding the alarm since early last year about the risks associated with various EPA regulatory maneuvers, particularly the latest Utility MACT and cross state emissions rules. We are even now seeing the loss of significant energy generation on the grid, and an effective war on coal which reduces energy supply leading to the inevitable rise in prices. Not only are gas prices spiking in a trend which is expected to continue through the year, but home heating and utility costs are reflecting the fallout from these policies as well. But who bears the brunt of the increased costs?

According to a new study, the hardest hit are precisely who you would expect. The poor and the elderly are having the biggest bite taken out of their checkbooks.

Energy costs for U.S. households will almost double this year from 2001, consuming a fifth of the annual income for half of American homes, according to a study by a utility group that opposes limits on coal use.

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which includes Atlanta-based Southern Co. and Peabody Energy Corp. in St. Louis, said the 50.4 percent of households earning less than $50,000 may pay even higher costs as regulators consider limits on coal-burning power plants.

The study is “further evidence that these regs are going to cause an impact on the American family,” said Lisa Camooso Miller, vice president for media relations for the Washington- based coalition, in an interview.

The study (.pdf version of full report) breaks down the rising costs seen in U.S. households based on income and the results are fairly stark, as shown in the following graphic.

Household Energy Costs

The following bullet points are also highlighted:

  • Energy costs are growing and eating up a disproportionate share of low and fixed-income families’ budgets. The 60 million households that earn less than $50,000 per year, or half of all U.S. families, will devote an estimated 21 percent of their after-tax incomes to energy, compared to 12 percent spent in 2001.
  • Energy cost burdens are greatest on the poorest families. The energy bills of families earning less than $10,000 have risen to 78 percent of their after-tax income.
  • Minority families are burdened by higher energy costs. More than 60 percent of Black and Hispanic families had pre-tax household incomes below $50,000 in 2010, compared with 39 percent for Asian families and 46 percent for white households.
  • Lower and fixed-income senior households are among those most vulnerable to energy price increases. Food, health care and other necessities compete with energy for a share of the household budget. The $31,408 median income of senior U.S. households means that half of these households depend on incomes below this level.
  • EPA regulations drive up electricity prices. Virtually all of the residential electricity price increases over the past two decades have occurred since 2000. These increases are due in part to additional capital, operating and maintenance costs associated with meeting clean air and other environmental standards.
  • Electricity is the bargain among all consumer energy products. This is due, in part, to the utility industry’s reliance on affordable coal. Electricity prices have increased by 51 percent in nominal dollars since 1990, while the nominal prices of residential natural gas and gasoline have nearly doubled and tripled, respectively.

This is an election season when candidates need to address the needs of millions of Americans struggling under a rough economy, unemployment and uncertain futures. Yet another aspect of the study highlights that Hispanics and other minority communities are also paying disproportionately for Obama’s energy agenda. The majority of people who will select the next President and the makeup of Congress are not riding around in private jets, but are the ones figuring out how to pay the bills next month. This study should make it clear precisely who is being hurt most by the policies of the current administration and the direction we need to take going forward.


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Me. It hurts me most.

cartooner on February 8, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Hey, they voted for energy prices to skyrocket.

Let them eat cake.

cajun carrot on February 8, 2012 at 9:56 AM

I’m working mostly to pay for the gasoline it takes to get to work at $4/gallon.

That’s how bad it hurts.

Of course, Obama would rather I NOT work and become one of his subjects.

wildcat72 on February 8, 2012 at 9:57 AM

You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know — Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.

Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.

52% of the voting public were either not listening or were under the belief that they are sufficiently insulated from the effects of his plans.

Fallon on February 8, 2012 at 9:58 AM

O/T,the heat goes up,and the jobs are going!
___________________________________________

nbcchicago tweeted:
********************

#Illinois to lose 1,800 jobs by March, according to report:

http://t.co/I5scyVAa
Submitted 12 mins ago from twitter.com/nbcchicago
http://www.breakingnews.com/
============================

canopfor on February 8, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Absolutely it’s on the poor. And it’s mainly the result of inflation. We’ve been paying double for gasoline than we paid ten years ago, not to mention higher prices for everything else. It’s how the extravagant spending of Bush and Obama and their parties have been financed. And it’s done mainly on the backs of the poor and middle-class. So much for compassionate conservatism and bleeding-heart liberalism.

rickv404 on February 8, 2012 at 9:59 AM

sufficiently insulated from the effects of his plans.

Fallon on February 8, 2012 at 9:58 AM

No, they were sufficiently insulated from their own damned logic. The fools.

cajun carrot on February 8, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Just an opportunity for more government subsidies to the “poor” to help offset the increases. Democrats will demand this and Repubs will cave. Second verse same as the first…

Aplombed on February 8, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Hey, they voted for energy prices to skyrocket.

Let them eat burn cake.

cajun carrot on February 8, 2012 at 9:56 AM

FIFY

HumpBot Salvation on February 8, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Absolutely it’s on the poor. And it’s mainly the result of inflation. We’ve been paying double for gasoline than we paid ten years ago, not to mention higher prices for everything else.
rickv404 on February 8, 2012 at 9:59 AM

More like four years ago. Gas was $1.86 a gallon on inauguration day.

John Deaux on February 8, 2012 at 10:03 AM

This is what he meant by hope and change.

newportmike on February 8, 2012 at 10:04 AM

“Necessarily skyrocket” are the words I want to hear in many campaign ads over the next several months.

beatcanvas on February 8, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Just an opportunity for more government subsidies to the “poor” to help offset the increases. Democrats will demand this and Repubs will cave. Second verse same as the first…

Aplombed on February 8, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Yep. The maximum earmings limit for HEAP and other assistance was raised already and will be again. The poor won’t suffer, they’ll get more government assistance. For example, most subsidized housing already includes heat in the reduced rent. Then there is the HEAP programs which give one time pay outs. And others that reduce the cost to a small percentage of the bill and forgive the rest.
It’s the middle class who will be hurt by this, not the poor.

Deanna on February 8, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Next up on Obama’s agenda for re-election:

Progressive energy rates and an Earned Energy Cost Tax Credit.

SlaveDog on February 8, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Next up on Obama’s agenda for re-election:

Progressive energy rates and an Earned Energy Cost Tax Credit.

SlaveDog on February 8, 2012 at 10:05 AM

I want a special surtax on the incomes of community organizers to pay for this.

wildcat72 on February 8, 2012 at 10:07 AM

World To End Friday
Women, minorities will be impacted most

/

RedPepper on February 8, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Forgot to add: And a special “windfall profits tax” on book royalties on autobiographies ghostwritten by terrorists as well to pay for this.

wildcat72 on February 8, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Me. It hurts me most.

cartooner on February 8, 2012 at 9:55 AM

You read my mind!

TugboatPhil on February 8, 2012 at 10:09 AM

I’m not poor, or elderly (though my kid’s say I’m OLD)…but it is killing me! I drive alot, use propane for heat…etc.

KOOLAID2 on February 8, 2012 at 10:10 AM

The word “duh” comes to mind.

totherightofthem on February 8, 2012 at 10:13 AM

It is all these rubes in DC and it is about anything they can tax. I have been on a tear trying to cut my monthly bills as household revenue tumbles. Fer instance I took every feature off my AT&T landline to pare it down to the $20/month rate.

That rate has over 43% TAXES AND FEES!!! to make it about $36. I called John Cornyn’s office to ask what all the federal taxes are paying for. They had no idea and aooffered an 800 number to the FCC.

DanMan on February 8, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Me. It hurts me most.

cartooner on February 8, 2012 at 9:55 AM

You read my mind!

TugboatPhil on February 8, 2012 at 10:09 AM

This is why $4-$5 gasoline will absolutely KILL any hope of Obama winning re-election without an armed coup.

Which I don’t put past him.

Obama has been out front and center on killing domestic drilling AND the Keystone pipeline. All you need to do is run an ad juxtaposing the price of gas and Obama’s anti Keystone statement and you could run Alfred E. Neumann against him and win 49 of the 57 states.

wildcat72 on February 8, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Hey, they voted for energy prices to skyrocket.

Let them eat cake.

cajun carrot on February 8, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Let them eat sh*t.

bloviator on February 8, 2012 at 10:18 AM

You know who this post doesn’t help?

Mr. Romney joined activists outside an aging, coal-fired plant in 2003 to show his commitment to the emissions caps. “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant, that plant kills people,” he said.

flyfisher on February 8, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Beckel and others say Obama hasnt raised any taxes and Boling never says the FIRST thing he did was hike Cigarette taxes, which like energy, hits the poor the most.

Schwalbe Me-262 on February 8, 2012 at 10:21 AM

This study should make it clear precisely who is being hurt most by the policies of the current administration and the direction we need to take going forward.

And not one of our candidates will even mention the thing.

BacaDog on February 8, 2012 at 10:21 AM

I’m not poor, or elderly (though my kid’s say I’m OLD)…but it is killing me! I drive alot, use propane for heat…etc.

KOOLAID2 on February 8, 2012 at 10:10 AM

I agree. LIHEAP/HEAP helps the poor but anyone else gets the shaft. Don’t know where you live but in most places a single person making $24000 can get assistance or a family of 4 making $45000 can get assistance up to $450 through regular HEAP and another $650 for propane through Emergency HEAP.
It is possible for people to game this system too. Let’s say you buy one shipment of propane in the Fall, partly paid for by LIHEAP.You use space heaters and get by on that until January. Then you run out. You can get up to $650 to get more. Then you may have to get one more fill. Go all summer and start oover in the Fall. Same thing for any heating. It used to be worse when the starting date for Emergency HEAP was late November. People lierally could have heat with out paying more than $100 a year.

Deanna on February 8, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Ed in October:

Meet another Romney climate-change advisor: Douglas Foy

flyfisher on February 8, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Schwalbe Me-262 on February 8, 2012 at 10:21 AM

I couldn’t believe nobody mentioned SCHIP. HUGE tax increase.

BacaDog on February 8, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Next up> Government takes over the utility companies and energy companies. Lowers cost to the poor and makes those making over 50,000 per year pay their fair share.

Energy redistribution, its coming. They came for our privacy, they came for our free speech, they came for our freedom to practice religion, they have taken the banks and the auto companies. I give him to August 2012 before he has it all.

This guy has the heart of a dictator and the soul of a Muslim.

uhangtight on February 8, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Everything liberals do hurts the poor either directly or indirectly.

angryed on February 8, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Just a friendly reminder….

Mitt Romney, while governor, shut down several eeeeeeevil coal fired plants in his state, driving up the cost of electricity.

Here is a brief video of him boasting about shutting down one of the plants.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BpgLYryI8g

angryed on February 8, 2012 at 10:28 AM

The one group really hurt, besides the middle class, is the elderly. Their income is often much lower than anyone on TANF. But if you know any elderly who need help with heating, besides HEAP, most utility companies offer reduced rate programs for seniors and disabled, especially those on low income. I don’t have a problem with that at all. They paid for their heat in the past and can use the help now. My gas company even has a program where you can pay an extra $1.00 a month voluntarily to help with this program.

Deanna on February 8, 2012 at 10:28 AM

And it’s done mainly on the backs of the poor and middle-class. So much for compassionate conservatism and bleeding-heart liberalism.

rickv404 on February 8, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Mr. Smartguy,

What percentage of the total gubbmint revenues collected are paid by the poor and middle class?

Here I’ll help you!

belad on February 8, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Shale gas is one of the great boons to poor people, in that it’s driven down the cost of natural gas, lowering utility bills. Yet New York state and the all the radical enviros are on a new jihad against the fracking that brings us this cheap, clean fuel.

It’s clear that the left simply doesn’t want cheap energy.

juliesa on February 8, 2012 at 10:37 AM

It isn’t who suffers most that matters as much as it is who can be blamed by the alphabet media.

tommy-t on February 8, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Absolutely it’s on the poor. And it’s mainly the result of inflation. We’ve been paying double for gasoline than we paid ten years ago, not to mention higher prices for everything else. It’s how the extravagant spending of Bush and Obama and their parties have been financed. And it’s done mainly on the backs of the poor and middle-class. So much for compassionate conservatism and bleeding-heart liberalism.

rickv404 on February 8, 2012 at 9:59 AM

It’s all Bush’s fault.
Yawn.

angryed on February 8, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Mitt Romney: I’m not worried about the poor, they have a safety net.

SWalker on February 8, 2012 at 10:42 AM

It’s clear that the left simply doesn’t want cheap energy.

juliesa on February 8, 2012 at 10:37 AM

+1

kirkill on February 8, 2012 at 10:44 AM

We should have seen these results of the EPA, acting like Congress and OSHA at the Sate of the Union Show when Obama lied saying energy production has increased. When he opens his trap you know it is a lie ready to be pushed out. The reality is just the opposite of what he says. One thing is true though – North Dakota has seen an increase in oil production, although the Obama is taking steps to stop that.

democratsarefools on February 8, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Well if you are lucky enough to live in Taxachusettes, “Just Call Joe!”

GarandFan on February 8, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Just more evidence that Obama is the worst president in the history of the US.

jqc1970 on February 8, 2012 at 10:51 AM

It’s clear that the left simply doesn’t want cheap energy.

juliesa on February 8, 2012 at 10:37 AM

They want it for themselves and restrict and control it for everyone else.

PatriotGal2257 on February 8, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Pres**ent Barack Asshole Obama seems to think that nobody will notice that he has aided in making not just gasoline and fuel oil higher, but also electricity.

J_Crater on February 8, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Obama stated that energy costs were going to go up under his regime, but the idiot masses voted for him anyway. Now the idiot masses, along with the rest of us, will have to pay for their mistake. It will be interesting to see if the idiot masses will vote for him again.

cajunpatriot on February 8, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Pres**ent Barack Assh*le Obama seems to think that nobody will notice that he has aided in making not just gasoline and fuel oil higher, but also electricity.

J_Crater on February 8, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Simple. Drill.

Rohall1215 on February 8, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Everything liberals do hurts the poor either directly or indirectly.

angryed on February 8, 2012 at 10:26 AM

It’s part of the wealth distribution deal. It goes up for everyone, hurts the economy, but liberals like Obama will extract the cost from some top percentage of taxpayers (top 5%, top 10%, top 25%, whatevs) and subsidize the “poor” with a nontaxable benefit. He never loses the votes of the filthy rich who think this is how society should operate. And with every energy user that gets enrolled in a fuel-subsidy program, he buys additional votes now, increased dependence, and increasing inability to reverse the dependence.

BuckeyeSam on February 8, 2012 at 11:01 AM

You know. If you just assume 1.2 million more gallons of gasoline produced per 100,000 barrels of oil, the government can report an average $1.699 per gallon price at the pump, for benefit of New York Times reading, Obama voting retards.

Really.

MNHawk on February 8, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Obama stated that energy costs were going to go up under his regime, but the idiot masses voted for him anyway. Now the idiot masses, along with the rest of us, will have to pay for their mistake. It will be interesting to see if the idiot masses will vote for him again.

cajunpatriot on February 8, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Regardless of what he said and regardless of what he is truly all about, too many Americans wanted to vote for their Jackie Robinson for president. I remember that Walter Williams wrote in March or April 2008 that Obama was no Jackie Robinson.

BuckeyeSam on February 8, 2012 at 11:03 AM

It’s been a mild winter through most of the US this year, so I don’t think most people will notice the higher costs as much in that area. Gas prices are another story though. There are many factors in play that suggest gas prices will go through the roof this summer, and BHO is responsible for most of those factors. High gas prices are something that voters see every day and it doesn’t matter if the media tries to ignore them.

Norky on February 8, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Democrats want higher energy costs. $10 gas means no more suburbs, no more cars.

Everyone lives in urban apartment complexes and walks / takes the bus to work.

This is the end goal. Has nothing to do with the environment.

angryed on February 8, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Why does Obama hate the poor so much?

multiuseless on February 8, 2012 at 11:13 AM

My favorite gasoline price story comes from my local newspaper. Back in 2005 or so, they used to run a chart every week listing the price per gallon at 10 local stations from lowest to highest price.

The manager of the station whose price always appeared last eventually got very p!ssy when the reporter called each week and would sometimes refuse to give it out. He didn’t like the fact that his station was always last because he had the highest price per gallon which was … $1.50.

PatriotGal2257 on February 8, 2012 at 11:20 AM

The poor and the elderly are having the biggest bite taken out of their checkbooks.

In CA, the answer to that problem is a surcharge on electric, gas, and phone too on the bills of all of us who makes over $30K a year. You know, the “rich”!

Supposedly, the poor can then apply for cheaper rates (b/c we are overpaying). Of course, no one keeps track of the money and reports on it. We could be paying for pensions and benefits or other holes in their budget too.

PattyJ on February 8, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Democrats want higher energy costs. $10 gas means no more suburbs, no more caDemocrats want higher energy costs. $10 gas means no more suburbs, no more cars.

Everyone lives in urban apartment complexes and walks / takes the bus to work.

This is the end goal. Has nothing to do with the environment.

angryed on February 8, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Exactly. It’s all about control. If you can only go where mass transit will take you then you can only go where the government wants you to go. Which means no escaping the liberal “utopia”.

Cars prevent this from happening. Which is why liberals oppose it. If someone came up with a car that actually ran on perpetual motion that was practical, cheap, and emitted no pollution whatsoever the left would find some way to oppose it.

wildcat72 on February 8, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Just an opportunity for more government subsidies to the “poor” to help offset the increases. Democrats will demand this and Repubs will cave. Second verse same as the first…

Aplombed on February 8, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Exactly.

They have EBT cards instead of food stamps now.

When the poor go to pay their utility bills, they’ll present their energy discount card and Bingo!, subsidized utilities for the poor.

Same with sales taxes. When a person buys something at a store, just swipe your tax subsidy card and a lower tax rate is charged.

Permanent Underclass.

MichaelGabriel on February 8, 2012 at 11:50 AM

I keep wondering why there is no class action lawsuit against these edicts made by this administration. Perhaps some citizens out there should form a coalition, get some good lawyers, and file a class action lawsuit. Oh, but wait. That would require lawyers to get on board and there probably would not be the hundreds of millions of dollars available in payoff to get them interested.

boogieboy on February 8, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Don’t worry… the Dem’s solution will be an energy cost refundable tax credit. Even those who pay zero in fed tax will be able to file for a “refund”. (AKA Free Money.)
But, even after spending $B’s on educating those who pay no taxes how to file, not enough will. So, Obama’s new OFA army of former OWS folks will patrol poor minority neighborhoods, offering new $20 bills (with Geithner’s sig) at random.
But, that won’t work so well either as OWS folks get robbed and beaten. So, the new program will be combined with SNAP*, doubling SNAP payments and allowing recipients to buy just about anything Wal*Mart sells. That way the money can go directly to China.

*SNAP: Socialism? Not A Problem!

Marcola on February 8, 2012 at 12:12 PM

We already have a Socialist-Capitalist economic system in this country. Current economic conditions are permanent as a result.

Mitt Romney was right, the poor and the rich in this country are protected.

The middle class is for the worker bees, i.e., suckers.

MichaelGabriel on February 8, 2012 at 12:21 PM

it hurts the middle class the most.

maineconservative on February 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM

I can see where the elderly on fixed incomes are negatively affected, but the poor, who pay little to no taxes– who in fact, gain an income through earned income credit– also enjoy energy subsidies. With the safety nets of housing, food, health care, and energy costs, the working poor appear to have an advantage. Even their transportation needs are subsidized with the tax-payers’ support.

onlineanalyst on February 8, 2012 at 12:57 PM

You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know — Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.

Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.
52% of the voting public were either not listening or were under the belief that they are sufficiently insulated from the effects of his plans.

Fallon on February 8, 2012 at 9:58 AM

The media did a fine job in suppressing that soundbite instead of trumpeting it on the news repeatedly on the top of the hour.

onlineanalyst on February 8, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Formatting erro, Fallon. I am sorry that I included your observation in with the Dunce’s.

onlineanalyst on February 8, 2012 at 1:00 PM

dolphins, polar bears, and penguins-definitely the hardest hit.

mittens on February 8, 2012 at 1:03 PM

“Under my plan, electricity prices will necessarily skyrocket.”

B. Heusein 0bama.

Sometimes the man can tell the truth, just not in the last five years.

jukin3 on February 8, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Who should be hurt most by rising energy costs?

Warren Buffett.

Seize Buffet’s money and give it to the poor for heating assistance. And WTH, buy ‘em all air conditioners as well.

AttaBoyLuther on February 8, 2012 at 1:21 PM

I am middle class. It costs more per gallong for oil for my house, than super premium unleaded gas for my car. If I were prone to them, I’d have an anxiety attack each month when they deliver oil and leave the bill in my mailbox. Last time it was $672.

carolt2 on February 8, 2012 at 1:48 PM

DanMan at 10:14 AM

You called Cornyn’s office expecting to get help? Ha Ha!!

johnny reb on February 8, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Is it too late to blame Manbearpig

Grunt on February 8, 2012 at 5:41 PM

The only surprise here (to me, anyway) is how Obama’s voting-base still WILL NOT acknowledge any responsibility on his part, in causing this. Three years ago, I thought most of his constituents would in fact turn on him, by now. But they haven’t.

Swing voters (Independents), on the other hand . . . . . . . . . . .

listens2glenn on February 8, 2012 at 6:34 PM

There are many factors in play that suggest gas prices will go through the roof this summer, and BHO is responsible for most of those factors. High gas prices are something that voters see every day and it doesn’t matter if the media tries to ignore them.

Norky on February 8, 2012 at 11:06 AM

The last thing the media will do is ignore high prices for anything. They’ll just blame it on republicans. And it’ll work. Again.

runawayyyy on February 9, 2012 at 11:54 AM