The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

A Tax on Energy is a Tax on Everything

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 13, 2013

A pair of new Energy Tomorrow television commercials feature real people talking about the real effects of raising taxes on America’s oil and natural gas companies – as is being pushed by some in Washington. Two main points:

  • Because our economy runs on oil and natural gas, higher taxes on oil and natural gas companies will slow it down.
  • Because energy is central to the way Americans live, making energy more expensive by raising taxes on it amounts to a tax on all Americans.

As API executive vice president Marty Durbin noted in a call with reporters today:

The good news is that most of the public already “gets it.” For example, the Election Day poll we conducted showed more than two thirds of voters thought higher energy taxes were harmful and could increase energy costs.   Further, our polling shows that the public is highly skeptical of increasing taxes on energy.  Now we need to make sure more Washington lawmakers understand, get that message and realize what’s at stake.

The folks interviewed in the ads instinctively know what research has shown – higher taxes on oil and natural gas companies likely will impact the cost of developing oil and natural gas, hindering production while negatively affecting job and economic benefits that otherwise could be expected. Higher energy taxes = less energy, job losses and less revenue generated for government.

Let’s look at the details. According to energy consultant Wood Mackenzie, higher taxes would produce short-term revenue gains for government, followed by significant revenue losses to government as the effects of higher taxes impact energy development:

More from Durbin:

If increased revenue is truly the objective, then allow the oil and natural gas industry to continue to do what it has always done – invest in America’s economy by providing good-paying jobs here at home that  develop the energy America needs.  That’s what the American people support and in the long-term the result would be far better for the American economy, for consumers, for our energy security, and for the nation’s long-term economic growth. 

Allowing our industry to invest in America is truly the better choice: Policies that foster more oil and natural gas development – specifically, increased access to U.S. reserves. More access = more energy, more jobs, more revenue to government. According to Wood Mackenzie, more oil and natural gas development would produce more than $126 billion in additional revenue for government by 2020 – far surpassing the $41 billion that would be raised by hiking taxes on the energy producers. That’s the choice for America:


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.