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U.S. Gas Should Cost $6.25/Gallon to Cover Full Cost of Carbon

U.S. drivers would pay $6.25 per gallon for gasoline and $7.72 per gallon for diesel if prices reflected the full cost of carbon pollution, according to a recent report in the journal Climatic Change.

The study by Duke University professor Drew Shindell “is the first to pull together a proper accounting of the hidden costs of greenhouse gas emissions,” Quart reports. “It shows the true (and much higher) cost that we pay in dollars at the pump and light switch—or in human lives at the emergency room.”

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Proper cost accounting would also add 30¢ per kilowatt/hour to the cost of coal-generated electricity, 7¢ to 17¢ to natural gas, and little or nothing to the cost of renewables.

“Shindell calculates the total yearly emissions price tag—between transportation, electricity, and industrial combustion—at between $330-970 billion,” DelViscio writes, depending on assumptions about the future value of money (the discount rate) as the effects of climate change are felt more acutely.

“Air pollution in the United States sends about 150,000 people to the hospital every year and causes 180,000 non-fatal heart attacks,” and “around the world, air pollution is the single leading environmental cause of death,” Shindell told Quartz. “It’s not necessarily that people pay out of their pockets, but they’re dead.” (h/t to Environmental News Bits [2] for pointing us to this story)