Over the last several years, Colorado’s economy has felt the effects of new investment and growth, outperforming most of the nation, with huge decreases in unemployment, increases in our GDP and an incredible tourism boom, all of which have marked Colorado as a leader in economic recovery following the Great Recession.
This is particularly true in Colorado’s energy industry, where natural gas production has stimulated economic growth, supported high-paying jobs and delivered savings to consumers through lower gas prices and heating costs.
Not only did the industry contribute more than $31 billion to the state’s economy in 2015, it supported 239,900 jobs and paid more than $23 billion in wages, according to 2017 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and commissioned by API. In fact, the jobs supported by the industry accounted for nearly 7 percent of the total state employment and includes more than 1,100 businesses across the state as part of the oil and natural gas supply chain.
Highly-regulated and responsible energy development has also provided Coloradans with multiple benefits to household budgets and in their communities. Colorado residents have among the lowest energy costs in the country, and the average Colorado driver saved $550 at the pump in 2015, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). Additionally, household budgets grew by $1,337 from utility and other energy-related savings, and school districts received nearly $202 million from oil and natural gas property taxes.
Colorado has one of the 10 most dynamic economies in the country, and the energy industry is a critical contributor to that success. Over the years, state leaders, regulators, environmentalists and the energy industry have worked together to ensure that these businesses can continue to grow while protecting Coloradans and the environment.
It is a model that that other states—and other industries—can learn from.
Jeff Wasden is the former President of the Colorado Business Roundtable.