Pennies and nickels cost more to produce than they’re actually worth. The Obama administration is hoping to change the 30-year-old formula in order to get a more cost efficient coin.
According to CNN Money, the US Mint spends about 2.4 cents to create a penny. It costs about 11.2 cents to make a nickel.
Losing a penny here or there might not seem like a big deal. But when you take into consideration the fact that the mint produced 4.3 billion pennies and 914 million nickels in 2011, you’re looking at a huge loss. CNN reports that the mint loses more than $100 million a year by producing pennies and nickels with the current mix of metals.
The Treasury has been aware of the problem for a while and even started experimenting with new metals in 2010. Still, the treasury isn’t sure what metal to use to make pennies and nickels cost effective. Time Magazine reports that the modern penny is currently made of 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper. The nickel is made of 75% copper and 25% nickel.
Some argue that changing the pennies metal mixture to include cheaper metals would make them easier to counterfeit. (Why someone would counterfeit pennies I don’t know.) Others argue that the government should get rid of pennies and nickels altogether.
For the moment, the Obama administration is hoping to find a cost effective metal to make pennies and nickels. But the material isn’t the only problem. The Obama administration may have a hard time finding a material to make the penny cost effective since half of the penny making budget goes to administrative costs.
Do you think we should abandon pennies and nickels?