Energy is a massive portion of the American economy — understandably, since it powers nearly everything we do on a daily basis. It represents 5.8% of our gross domestic product and employs more than 6 million Americans.
But that’s not all that energy contributes to our economy. In many states, oil and gas severance taxes support critical programs like education, environmental protection, roads, and disaster response. In Texas, for example, nearly 80% of school districts receive at least one teacher salary from oil and gas severance taxes. A quarter of districts receive 20% or more of their funding from the energy industry.
If renewable energy becomes a priority — which is inadvisable given the insurmountable cost, battery storage, and land requirements — policymakers must be prepared to replace lost tax revenue. Voters won’t be likely to tolerate higher taxes, and surveys consistently show Americans are unwilling to pay much more, if anything, for their electricity to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Likely even fewer would be willing to sacrifice their children’s education. Increasing the already high costs of renewable energy, which continue to go up the more renewables are added to the grid, would spell disaster for our economy.
As of now, 80% of our energy comes from fossil fuels. Oil, natural gas, and coal not only sustain nearly every aspect of modern life, they also provide education for the next generation.