Report: North Carolina energy affordability in the better third of all states



(The Center Square) – North Carolina electricity costs, and average annual cost for gas and for diesel are in the upper third of the nation compared to other states, a new report says.

The findings are in this month’s release of the Energy Affordability Report by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

North Carolina was 17th lowest in electricity prices at 9.29 cents per kilowatt hour. The average price in cents per kilowatt hour was 11.32 for residential, 8.5 commercial, 6.14 industrial and 7.85 transportation. The state does not have a renewable portfolio standard, is not in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or cap-and-trade, and does have state-mandated rules for certain utilities.

The report says, “This year’s data shows that the states with government-mandated RPS or cap-and-trade programs have higher electricity prices than those that do not. The overall data shows that states that have implemented an RPS or carbon tax can also be casual in leading to higher prices over time.”

It also says, “There is a strong correlation between big government policies and higher electricity costs.”

Based on average miles driven, the average consumer annually pays $2,160.85 for gasoline. That’s 16th best in the country. The report checked prices on April 4 (average $3.36) and calculated with the average miles driven (16,073, 14th-highest in the country).

The report noted six U.S. crude refineries closed in the last four years, and only one new one was built, with a second getting extensive upgrades.

“Between global instability, misguided domestic policies and a bleak outlook in terms of expanding the nation’s ability to refine more petroleum products, demand is high while the supply is being intentionally hamstrung by elected officials,” the report said.

Ten states had a higher tax for diesel than North Carolina’s 36 cents. When price-checked on April 4, the statewide average was $4.49 – only 12 were higher. This put the average consumer cost per year at $31,098.46, which was the 13th lowest.

The report said, “In general, states that are not hostile to fossil fuel manufacturers and have large agricultural sectors tend to have lower diesel prices. However, given that the trucking industry is by its very nature a multi-state industry, truckers must take a hard look at prices in various states and adjust their prices or make hard choices about where they are willing to transport goods.”

ALEC projected diesel prices will rise during the winter.

ALEC says it publishes the Energy Affordability Report “as part of its mission to discuss, develop and disseminate model public policies that expand free markets, promote economic growth, limit the size of government and preserve individual liberty.”

The Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, it says, “operates under the principles of free-market environmentalism, that is to promote the mutually beneficial link between a robust economy and a healthy environment, to unleash the creative powers of the free market for environmental stewardship and to enhance the quality and use of our natural and agricultural resources for the benefit of human health and well-being.”

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