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Euro energy tax

A few days ago we were talking about one of many reasons the Euro community spends more time and money on raising combustion and transfer efficiency in their heating equipment than the US traditionally has. Queries into Switzerland and Austria yielded the response "VAT," which means value-added tax, and presently consumes 20 percent of evey energy euro. In other words, without any other differences, the Euro community pays 20 percent more for its heating oil than do we.


  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    That would be true if...

    ... there were no sales taxes on heating oil in the US. The actual implementation varies by state.

    For example, in the Mass. Commonwealth, there are no taxes on heating oil in residential use, but there is a tax on commercial use. On the other hand, West Virginia charges around 5% sales tax. In fact, the application of taxes is sufficently complicated, that IRS seminars are held to educate office managers.

    So far, I have not been able to find a definitive answer to federal heating oil taxes.
  • Firedragon_4
    Firedragon_4 Member Posts: 1,436
    NORA funds are

    an industry collected federally approved tax, they just call it a check-off program. Same as milk, pork, beef, cotton, propane, etc.
    If the gas utility ever gets smart and gets there own, oh mama, look out!

  • that's right, we just spend the money on soldiers, bombs, guns and bribes to ensure our energy supply, instead of encouraging intelligent energy usage in the first place via tax credits and/or tax disincentives on energy usage.

    That's what's known as a "hidden cost". We're paying, either way. It's just not showing up where it should.

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  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928
    Sad To Say...

    ...but I agree about 51% of the time.

    Get enough good wetheads working on schools, churches, apartments, buildings, etc. that are big-time users and frequently even bigger-time wasters and we can make a meaningful difference!

    Get enough modulation going--commercial, residential, institutional--and it will be a VERY big difference!

    Bring vapor back to full, modulating life and we can show the Europeans something!

    Yea! to Mark Etherton and others!!!!
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    Interesting Points!

    Allegedly, the US imports approximately $10BN of oil from the Middle East annually. Further, current Expenditures to safeguard the oil supply over there allegedly amount to about $30BN per annum. Even if the cost of protecting the oil supply was spread out to every barrel of oil produced/imported into the US, that amounts to $5-8 per barrel. That's at least a 10% VAT right there.

    Never mind the human cost of putting our military in harms way.

    I am sure that our oil consumption could be reduced dramatically if we could get better alignment between that which is necessary for our national security and current policy. If reducing our dependence on foreign oil is a real administration goal, then the quickest, most efficient means of achieveing it is to reduce our consumption.

    Such a step would not necessarily impact our lives negatively... after all, an efficient heating system can be just as expensive to install as an inefficient one. Ditto for transportation options, house construction, etc. It's simply a matter of looking at lifecycle costs vs. allowing marketing to influence our purchase decisions or shopping on the basis of initial purchase costs.
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    If only lifecycle costs were a "simple" matter with technology that hasn't been around long enough to prove itself...

    Surely wish that I made the right choice.
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    The issue as I see it is not the absence of proven technology...

    ... rather it's our willingness to use it. Granted, technological advances like inexpensive variable-speed electronic controls have only recently become wide-spread, but many technologies have found rapid adoption...

    For example, consider how nowadays only backward local councils install non-LED streetlights... because the regular kind will consume gobs more energy and require far more frequent service than the incandescent variety. Ditto for red exit signs in theatres, etc. Like with the street signs, the motivation though is not energy savings (at todays energy prices that's a nice to have), it's the reduction in PM (a must-have).

    Integral alternator/starter motors and electronically-actuated valves also promise to simplify internal-combustion engines and make them more efficient at the same time. Yet inertia keeps these and other innovations from making a widespread debut under the hood anytime soon.

    Fluidized bed reactors for coal plants were developed ages ago, still aren't the norm.

    The burner in your Vitodens boiler was the state of the art 10 years ago when it was introduced in Germany. I can only imagine what the folks over there are working on right now to make their offerings modulate better, burn more efficiently, and wring out more drops of net energy.

    For that matter, TRV'd system have been around as an option for decades, yet they are very rare in the USA. Cheap energy, a wasteful attitude, and a obsession with low capital expenditures make it possible for folks to ignore badly-installed or badly maintained heating and cooling equipment...

    Yet, when shortages develop, the US market responds quickly. Note the surge in Toyota Prius sales (13 month waiting list), the over-subscribed solar roof initiative in CA, etc. as indicators that people will respond, if given the right incentives.

    Therefore, I would welcome a gradual increase in energy prices so that the price of energy approaches the true cost of using it. It's the surest way for us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and gas and the most efficent means of making US consumers change their consumption habits.

  • nothing, however, can respond quick enough to rapid change in energy prices, and sadly, it looks like that is what we are in for. Relatively speaking of course. And a dramatic enough change that simple reduction of usage such is available to the american people will not be sufficient without serious changes in how we live our lives.

    Hopefully THAT will be possible without massive damage to our economy. How likely that is though.... wellllll....

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  • Jimmy Gillies
    Jimmy Gillies Member Posts: 250

    Here in the UK we pay 8% VAT on heating fuel, but we pay LOADS of other tax.
    Any year you can work from January to June before you have paid all the taxes, so about 5 months wages go on TAX ! !
    So as you guess there is a very large 'Black Economy', and is stunting business growth.

    If we give a homeowner an Estimate for a new heating installation of say £2,800.00 and add 17 1/2% VAT, what do you think they'll do? Get some guy in a unmarked van that doesn't pay tax, vat or anything, to do it for half the price! WELCOME TO EUROLAND with a Labour government that are %4£""????.... useless.
    Thanks for reading my rant.
    Jimmy Gillies Scotland.
    P.S. Adam Smith is turning in his grave!
  • Fred Harwood
    Fred Harwood Member Posts: 261
    Energy tax

    Jimmy, Adam Smith has had little rest for almost a hundred years. As for hidden energy costs, I doubt that even a significant decrease in U.S. energy consumption would retire our need for a strong miltiary presence in today's world. I respectfully disagree that our military costs should be attributed to securing energy. Rather, I suggest that especially oil has its value simply because of a vibrant world economy. Said the other way around, without its many consumable end uses, oil has little value. Producers need consumers as much as consumers need producers.
This discussion has been closed.