Energy production adding $120 billion in hidden costs to the nation

Energy production and use in America could be adding as much as $120 billion in hidden costs to the nation, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the National Academy of Sciences.

The report, "Hidden costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use," ties much of the hidden costs to medical care sought by people affected by air pollution from electricity generation and vehicle transportation. Sustainability advocates say for the first time, the government has recognized and quantified what economists call the "external," life-cycle costs of, among other things, electricity generation, transportation, and building heating and cooling. Together these three areas account for 90 percent of the energy consumed in the United States.