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A new study by researchers at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, shows tax credits to improve homes’ energy efficiency, expand the sales of green vehicles, and increase the use of renewable power have proven to be a very expensive form of welfare for the well to do. According to the study, U.S. households have received more than $18 billion in federal income tax credits for weatherizing their homes and purchasing energy efficient appliances, installing solar panels, buying hybrid and electric vehicles, and other “clean energy” investments since 2006.
These tax benefits have gone almost entirely to the highest income Americans — those most able to make energy efficient purchases without government support. The study found Americans in the top income quintile received 60 percent of all energy efficiency related tax credits while those in the bottom three income quintiles combined got only about 10% of all credits. The program encouraging the purchase of electric vehicles was by far the most regressive subsidy, with people in the top quintile garnering approximately 90% of all credits.