It turns out that clean air is a really, really good investment. For every dollar that we put into cleaning our air, we get twenty five dollars back in return benefits.
According to a study by the EPA, we spent $53 billion in 2010 on the rules stipulated by the Clean Air Act and reaped $1.3 trillion in benefits from things like increased property values and avoided pollution-related deaths and doctors visits.
That is a hell of a return on investment, especially when you consider that a large chunk of the savings comes from the lives saved by cleaner air. It's not just the trillion dollars we're talking about, it's actually people who are not dying. 230,000 of them to be precise, at least according to the EPA.
Of course, those hypothetical savings aren't going into the pockets of Big Energy. The average oil executive would rather see a dollar go into his pocket than have the country save twenty-five. And he'll keep paying to elect politicians sympathetic to his
bank account cause.