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Obama’s Energy Regulations To Cost Americans $460.5 Billion

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Energy and environmental regulations finalized by the Obama administration in the past five years come with a hefty price tag of $460.5 billion, according to data compiled by a center-right think tank.

The American Action Forum’s Regulation Rodeo database shows that the Obama administration finalized 275 energy and environment regulations between 2009 and 2014, with the price tag of each regulation averaging $1.75 billion.

And that doesn’t even consider the paperwork companies will have to complete. AAF data shows that Obama’s energy regulations have burdened Americans with 24.3 million paperwork hours. That means every year, Americans have to complete an additional 3.95 million hours of paperwork because of energy regulations.

Now, $460 billion is a huge price tag, but most of the administration’s regulatory costs come from some 29 regulations that each cost $1 billion or more. The two most expensive finalized rules were imposed by the EPA to fight global warming.

The biggest of these regulations is the “2017 and Later Model Year Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” finalized in 2012. That regulation will cost $156 billion to implement, coming out to about $10.8 billion per year.

The second-most expensive rule finalized by the Obama administration was the “Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards” that were passed in 2010 and were the “first phase” of regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Those regulations applied to light-duty vehicles from 2012 to 2016.

This “first phase” car-emissions rule is estimated to cost $51.8 billion, or $4.9 billion per year. This means the White House’s effort to “green up” cars will cost the U.S. economy nearly $208 billion, or about $16 billion per year.

The EPA justifies the high cost of these car-emissions rules by arguing that these standards will help get cars to 54.5 miles per gallon of gasoline which will save families “more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs” and reduce U.S. “dependence on oil by more than 2 million barrels per day in 2025.”

The Department of Energy has also proposed some costly regulations. The costliest rule finalized by the DOE is its “Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Water Heaters.” The DOE finalized this rule in 2010 and estimated it to cost $36.6 billion, or $1.3 billion a year.

Again, the DOE says such a costly rule is justified because it will generate savings for consumers because of increased water and energy efficiency in residential water heaters.

Water-heater standards will have “$63 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2015-2044,” according to the DOE. “The standard will avoid about 172.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 33.8 million automobiles.”

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