Cheaper Pennies And Nickels

February 16, 2012 by staff 

Cheaper Pennies And Nickels, The U.S. Mint is facing a problem — especially during these penny-pinching times. It turns out it costs more to make pennies and nickels than the coins are worth.

And because of that, the Obama administration this week asked Congress for permission to change the mix of metal that goes to make pennies and nickels, an expensive recipe that has remained unchanged for more than 30 years.

To be precise, it cost 2.4 cents to make one penny in 2011 and about 11.2 cents for each nickel.

Given the number of coins that the mint produces — 4.3 billion pennies and 914 million nickels last year alone, those costs add up pretty quickly: a little more than $100 million for each coin.

But even though Treasury has been studying new metals since 2010, it has yet to come up with a workable mix that would definitely be cheaper, and it has no details yet as to what metals should be used or how much it would save to do so.

Even if a cheaper metal can be used, it might not take the cost of a penny down to less than a penny.

Just the administrative cost of minting 4.3 billion pennies costs almost a half-cent per coin by itself, leaving precious little room to make a penny for less than a cent, no matter the raw material used.

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