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Q: How much will CCS cost an individual?

A. About what its costs when gas prices go up 75 cents a gallon.

Between January and May 2011, according to AAA, consumer gasoline prices went from about $3 to $3.75 a gallon. This increase was mostly due to unrest in the Middle East, but similar increases have occured in response to hurricanes and other natural disasters. 

Suppose you have an economy car with a gas tank that holds about 10 gallons. If you fill it up once a week, you use 40 gallons a month. In January, you would have paid $120 each month for gasoline. By May, you were paying $150 a month, an increase of $30.

Just like you buy gasoline in gallons, you buy electricity in kilowatt hours. At an average consumer price of 11¢ per kilowatt hour and usage of 1000 killowat hours per month, most families spend about $110 for electricity each month, just about what they spend for gasoline.

If a single coal power plant uses CCS (carbon capture and storage), the cost of generating electricity is estimated to increase between 3¢ and 5¢ per kilowatt hour. For an average family, this would mean an increase of $30 to $50.

Of course, making predictions about how much your electricity bill will change is as reliable as predicting the consumer price of gasoline next month. You will probably be in the ballpark, but not exactly right. These numbers are very reasonable estimates, but they include assumptions about how power plants operate, how electricity is produced, and how a typical household uses electricity.

In this video, Dr. Carey King from The University of Texas at Austin breaks down the consumer cost of electricity.


Dr. Carey King of The University of Texas at Austin approved this FAQ.



ERCOT, the utility that supplies electric power to Texas, performed an analysis of the costs of carbon sequestration in 2009, and their results showed that an average consumer's bill would increase by $27 with CCS. To see the full report, click the icon at the left.