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Report: Defending the Gas Pump Costs MA Taxpayers Almost $3 Billion a Year

October 16, 2008

Boston, MA – Most Massachusetts consumers think fuel prices at the pump and home heating oil costs are sky-high already, but they go much higher when the cost of U.S. military protection to secure overseas fossil fuel supplies is added to the tab. A new report from the National Priorities Project shows Bay State taxpayers' share for that protection reaches almost $3 billion a year. The NPP is a non-profit group which studies budget policy.

According to report author Anita Dancs, "Non-renewable fossil fuel energy is costing a lot more than we are paying at the gas pump, or in our utility bills."

Nationally, the annual military cost of protecting foreign petroleum and reserves is pegged at more than $100 billion. Dancs says the United States could shave a lot from its military budget if Americans conserved more energy and switched to renewable energy resources located in their own country. Currently, most of the oil used in the U.S. is from Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

The amount of money spent on research and development of new energy resources barely registers against the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent for foreign fuel protection by the military, she says.

"A couple billion dollars a year is our federal commitment to renewable energy and energy conservation - quite a stark contrast."

Some argue the report demonstrates the increased need for more stateside oil and gas production, rather than for renewable energy. The full report is at www.nationalpriorities.org.

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MA