Already, the U.S. oil industry benefits from a dozen specialized subsidies adding up to about $4.6 billion per year, according to a 2015 review by the Obama administration. Among other things, the subsidies reduce the costs of labor and equipment involved in drilling — and shield some of the profits earned on the oil itself.
Those tax breaks and other subsidies don’t just help the industry a little bit. In many cases, they determine whether it’s even worth drilling in the first place, according to a study earlier this year from the Stockholm Environment Institute, a nonprofit research organization.
Without federal and state subsidies, nearly half of U.S. oil production — about 45 percent — would be unprofitable at current prices, the researchers found.
A new study finds that without federal and state subsidies, nearly half of U.S. oil production would be unprofitable.