Energy tax mainly affects the poor

“Green” taxes are especially popular with the wealthy voters for “progressive” parties. And that is no wonder. Because the costs of energy tax mainly fall on the poor.

What kind of energy tax is there in the Netherlands?

The direct energy taxes referred to as such are those on natural gas and electricity. The total tax on natural gas in the Netherlands at the beginning of 2021 is around 52.5 cents per cubic meter [1]. Which on electricity is 9.428 cents per kWh. There are also the long-standing excise duties on car fuel, which can also be seen as energy taxes. In 2020, for example, petrol, diesel and LPG were subject to excise duties of 80.8, 52.1 and 19.3 cents respectively [2]. Kerosene for aircraft to international destinations is tax-free. The amounts mentioned include VAT.

How much energy tax do households pay with the minimum wage and households with a 2x average income?

For this calculation we assume a family with two children of school age. Family A, dual earners, has to live on twice the minimum wage. The parents of family B, who are also dual earners, both earn twice the average. We assume that both families live in a similar house, so have approximately the same energy costs and travel the same distance. The average gas consumption in a family with two children is 4500 kilowatt hours and 1700 cubic meters [2].

Family A has difficulty making ends meet, so drives the petrol car to France (as the crow flies 2 x 1500 km, which costs 200 liters of petrol, with 2.74 kg emissions per liter of petrol [3]), to find a house there in the Dordogne. Family B makes a flight to Bali with 4 people (4392.5 kg emissions per person) [4] and goes (also by plane) on winter sports in Austria with 4 people (1350 kg per person). [4] Because it is already late, and forensic traffic does not really add much, we assume, very easy going, parents who work from home who do everything else by bike. Numbers in brackets are the kilograms of CO2 emitted.

FamilyNet income per yearElectricityGasVacation carVacation planeWinter vacation planeCO2 holiday total (kg)Total energy load EB / kg CO2 E As percentage of income
a37000424 (2367)892 (3196)162 (548)--54818650,3053,56
B.88000424 (2367)892 (3196)- 0 (17570)0 (5400)2297013170,0461,50

The poor pay much more energy tax, both per kg of CO2 and as a percentage of their income

The results are remarkable. We see that family A, with two minimum incomes, pays 30.5 cents energy tax per kg of CO2 emitted. The B family, with two double-modal incomes, much less, 5 cents. That is six times less. This difference is due to air travel, which causes many kilograms of unloaded CO2.

Energy taxes can only be avoided by drastically lowering the thermostat to, for example, twelve degrees. That is possible, but not everyone can afford it. Oldies, for example.

Or, of course, by making high investments in, for example, solar panels or a heat pump. But unfortunately. Rich households in particular can make these investments. In general, the poor can hardly save and pay a lot through the ODE levy in subsidies for this “world improvement”.

Energy tax? With an all-purpose burner such as this beautiful specimen from the stove trade 't Stokertje, the proud owner can light up the fat middle finger. The disadvantage, besides the fine dust outside: the investment is considerable, more than a thousand euros. Real minimums cannot afford that. But you will have this investment out in a few years. Fair use. Source / copyright 't Stokertje,

Progressive ideals hit the poorest especially hard

Remarkably, it is mainly “progressive” parties, who are the greatest advocates of energy taxes. The introduction of a kerosene tax in a European context, comparable to the CO2 tax on natural gas and electricity, is not negotiable with most mainstream parties. This non-negotiability also applies to the use of nuclear energy. With nuclear energy we can save more CO2 than with poor people even further into the ground.


  1. Tax authorities, Environmental taxes
  2. Nibud, Energy and Water
  3. Envirometer, Current CO2 parameters 2015
  4. Greentripper, CO2 calculator
  5. List of rates for consumption taxes, Tax and Customs Administration, 2021 (pdf)

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