Press Release: Majority of Americans Concerned About Cost of Energy Subsidies

Heritage Action Urges Congress to Reduce Government Spending by Eliminating Costly and Unnecessary Energy Subsidies

Washington, D.C. – Heritage Action for America today called on Members of Congress to end the costly and wasteful practice of providing taxpayer subsidies to support specific companies and industries within the U.S. energy sector.  The organization issued the challenge of ending energy subsidies in view of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s current goal of finding $1.5 trillion in budget savings and in advance of other spending measures such as the 2012 Farm Bill that will likely include a host of energy related subsidies.

Echoing this call to action, the organization released a Tarrance Group voter survey showing that a strong majority of Americans think that the federal government should get out of the business of picking winners and losers in the marketplace.  And subsidies favoring certain types of energy, technologies and even specific companies, do just that according to Heritage Action citing recent examples of failed federal policies such as the Obama Administration’s controversial investments in companies like the $535 million loan received by the now-bankrupt solar panel provider Solyndra.

“From alternative and renewable energies to traditional energy sources like oil and gas, Americans rightfully believe that the federal government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers in industry,” said Heritage Action for America’s CEO, Michael Needham.  “This is especially true in the context of efforts to reign in government spending and efforts to address our $14 trillion debt.”

Historically, federal involvement and support for politically favored energy industries and companies has come at a high price with very negative results for consumers and workers according to Heritage Action.   By eliminating energy subsidies geared towards specific sectors and technologies, Heritage Action believes that Congress could reduce spending $113 billion over the next five years.

Key findings of today’s survey include:

  • Nearly three quarters of voters (72%) oppose the federal government choosing which companies within a certain industry will receive financial subsidies, with a majority (53%) strongly opposing.
  • 65% believe that Solyndra’s bankruptcy is a perfect example of why the federal government should not be in the role of picking winners and losers, no matter what industry or company it is.
  • 60% of respondents agree that when private investors don’t want to risk losing their money then that’s proof that the government should not invest in that company.

According to The Heritage Foundation, $113 billion over five years are spent on energy subsidies touted as potential energy solutions.  Unfortunately, these energy subsidy programs reduce the incentive for new technologies to become cost-competitive and encourage dependence on federal handouts. These programs actually hinder short and long-term energy development.

“With a federal debt spiraling out of control, the administration should stop rolling the dice on risky, unproven ventures that the private sector won’t touch. As members of the Super Committee create their blueprint to restore our fiscal balance, they would be wise to take a close look at these subsidized programs as the first places to cut.”

With more than 710,000 members across the country, The Heritage Foundation and its affiliate, Heritage Action for America, are committed to building an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and a civil society flourish.  

For more information on how we plan to fight energy subsidies, visit

Press Contact:
Dan Holler