Saving Money While Saving The Planet

Five Ways That Investing in Clean Energy and Taking Bold Climate Action Will Save You Money

This week, the Senate announced passage of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and is now moving forward on a budget resolution that would deliver historic climate action by passing President Biden’s Build Back Better plan. Building a just and equitable clean energy economy will require a big investment, but the good news is that it’s an investment that will pay off — creating new jobs and jumpstarting the economy — while also helping struggling families save money. Here are just some of the ways that you can save money in a clean energy economy.

1.) Saving On Utility Bills: Three separate analyses from researchers at Stanford, Princeton, and the Rhodium Group found that investing in clean, renewable electricity will keep electricity prices either stable or even lower than today’s levels. Coupled with more efficient home heating and appliances, consumers will see their utility bills go down. A report by Rewiring America showed that a transition to a clean energy economy could save U.S. households between $1,050 and $2,585 ​annually on their energy bills. At the same time, Congress can provide consumer rebates for electrification to make homes more efficient so they consume less energy–which saves consumers money.

If Congress passes clean energy tax cuts, and fully funds a Clean Electricity Payment Program (CEPP), as laid out in President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, it will help utilities quickly transition to cleaner, more affordable sources of energy. 

2.) Saving At The Pump: New clean car standards recently announced by the Biden administration are expected to save the average driver $900 over the life of the vehicle, but that is just a starting point. With a push to get more electric vehicles  and cleaner cars on the road, drivers can expect to see savings as high as $709 per year on fuel alone, and $330 per year in savings on maintenance costs, according to the AAA. For those who are able to take advantage of investments in public transit, commuters who switch their daily commute from car to public transit can save $9,797 a year on average.

Congress has an opportunity to pass tax cuts to make electric vehicles and public transit even more affordable, which will save even more money for commuters.

3.) Saving On Food: If we continue to do nothing about climate change, even the food we eat will get more expensive. A study from the International Food Policy Research Institute estimated that if we do nothing, climate change will increase the prices of corn, wheat, and rice by at least two-thirds by 2050 as farmers will continue to struggle with droughts, floods, and other climate-fueled disasters.

The clean energy investments being considered by Congress would reduce emissions from fossil fuels. It would also invest in developing sustainable agricultural practices that can help prevent the worst impacts of climate change on our food supplies.

4.) Saving On Healthcare Costs: Air pollution alone from fossil fuels costs the United States between $430 billion and $870 billion every year in healthcare costs and lost working income due to poor health. People of color are disproportionately affected by pollution released by burning fossil fuels that can cause cancer, heart disease, and asthma.

Eliminating fossil fuel pollution with the clean energy incentives being considered by Congress will reduce the burden on our overall healthcare system, which brings down costs for all of us.

5.) Saving On Disaster Recovery: If we don’t do anything to reduce emissions and slow down climate change, insurance costs will continue to go up in order to cover the rising costs of disasters fueled by climate change. Insurance companies are already looking to factor climate change into insurance premiums after paying out huge losses for climate-driven wildfires in the west, and analysts say that flood insurance premiums will have to increase by seven times by 2050 in parts of the country to cover the increase in floods tied to climate change.

Congress can take action to slow the rising costs of disasters caused by climate change — and the insurance premiums that come with them — by investing in a clean energy economy and reducing emissions. Investing in a Civilian Climate Corps can also help prevent damages and protect homes by building climate-resilient infrastructure. According to a report from the National Institute of Building Sciences, for every dollar invested in climate-resilient infrastructure, six dollars are saved in disaster costs.