Heritage experts worked through the night to comb through the massive spending bill Congress just released. One of the big disappointments they found is a whopping $10.2 billion for energy industries and government energy programs—much of which should be taken care of in the private sector.

While Congress allocates billions of dollars to basic research and development that could be considered a legitimate government function, billions stray into activities that Congress should eliminate.

Americans are far too dependent on energy subsidies, says Nicolas Loris, Heritage’s Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow. And these subsidies haven’t reduced our reliance on foreign energy sources; instead, they’ve merely boosted politically preferred technologies.

Loris pointed out taxpayer money allocated to these industries for 2014:

  • Renewable Energy and Efficiency: $1.9 billion
  • Oil, Coal and Natural Gas: $562 million
  • Nuclear Energy: $889 million

Each of these industries should succeed or fail on its own—without taxpayer help.

“We need to be removing subsidies for all sources of energy,” Loris says. “Whether a government-backed project succeeds or fails, it is a waste of taxpayer dollars to pick winners and losers among energy technologies. The market does a fine job of determining what makes economic sense and what doesn’t.”

See more details about these and other government programs in the Department of Energy.