Been There, Done That on Imposing New Energy Burdens on Minority Communities – Pacific Research Institute

Been There, Done That on Imposing New Energy Burdens on Minority Communities


Been There Done ThatBeen There, Done That on Imposing New Energy Burdens on Minority Communities

Inspired by California’s “green energy” agenda, the Biden Administration is pushing a #Justice40 agenda, which aims to improve minority communities, but will actually impose huge new mandates, costs, and taxes on the very communities they aim to help.

California Has “Been There, Done That”

In recent years, California has adopted a “green energy” agenda including new mandates, costs, and taxes on gasoline and electricity through policies like “Cap-and-Trade” and 100 percent renewable energy requirements. These policies have significantly increased energy burdens on minority and working class Californians.

As PRI’s research as shown, California’s approach to global warming has resulted in average state electricity prices that are the highest in the lower 48 states.  Monthly power bills in inland California – home to large, minority communities – are 57 percent higher on average in the summer months than coastal parts of the state.

In addition, policymakers are trying to push Californians to buy expensive new electric cars and air conditioners that are significantly more costly with taxpayer-funded subsidies.  However, working class Californians can’t afford these luxury purchases despite the subsidies.  PRI’s research has found that 79 percent of taxpayer-funded electric car subsidies, for example, are claimed by households making more than $100,000 per year.

How California’s Costly Energy Mandates Could
Increase Minority Energy Costs

“Lower and middle-income Californians . . .  bear a disproportionate share of the burden from higher gas prices . . .

“These higher prices aren’t due to oil company greed or ‘windfall profits,’ but rather are the result of costly, California-exclusive energy mandates imposed over the years by state policymakers.  These mandates include cap-and-trade regulations, motor vehicle fuel standards that require emissions to be cut by 34 percent in California by 2025, low-carbon fuel standards, and expensive electric vehicle subsidies.”

“To Give Californians Real Relief from High Gas Prices, Sacramento Must Legislate Energy Prosperity,” Tim Anaya and Wayne Winegarden, Right by the Bay, 4/7/22

“Not surprisingly, Gov. Newsom signed controversial legislation (Assembly Bill 1346) to ban the sale of gas-powered lawn equipment. The new law will be another costly burden on the estimated nearly 8,300 landscaping businesses in the state, many of whom are minority entrepreneurs.”

“Gas-Powered Lawn Equipment Ban Another Major Burden on Minority Entrepreneurs,” Tim Anaya, Right by the Bay, 10/18/21

“Not only are policymakers imposing higher energy burdens on poor and minority communities, they are also using public dollars for giveaways to the rich – all in the name of energy-efficient cars.

“For years, Sacramento has played car salesman through expensive, taxpayer and ratepayer-funded subsidies for higher-priced electric cars . . . Only the wealthiest Californians are really benefiting from these programs.  79 percent of these electric subsidies are claimed by households making more than $100,000 per year.”

“California’s energy mandates amount to state-legislated energy poverty,” Wayne Winegarden, Orange County Register, 12/21/18

Read the PRI study “Zapped! How California’s Punishing Energy Agenda Hurts the Working Class”

Bring Energy Savings to Minority Communities
by Legislating Energy Prosperity

The Biden Administration is right to focus on improving minority communities but imposing new government energy mandates and spending more on taxpayer-funded subsidies that benefit the wealthy won’t bring relief to families that are struggling to make ends meet.

Alternatively, they should look to adopt market-based energy policies in lieu of the status quo government energy policy mix that has contributed to record-higher prices for gas and electricity in California.  PRI’s research has shown the potential energy savings if California repealed or reformed these costly laws:

  • Reform would save the average California household $517 per year, while still continuing California’s progress in lowering emissions and fighting climate change.
  • Repealing the California-only gasoline mandates could save Californians, depending on consumption, up to $9.6 billion annually (based on 2019 prices).
  • Lower energy burdens can also boost California’s economy by up to 3.3 percent. Over 10 years, this could increase the size of California’s economy, adjusted for inflation by up to $223.4 billion.



Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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