Pennies & Nickels Still Costs More To Make Than They’re Worth

By Staff  |  01/20/2016


The U.S. government still spends more to make small change than the coins themselves are actually worth.

According to CNN, rising metal prices have forced the U.S. Mint to spend more money to produce and distribute nickels and pennies than the coins are actually worth. And, this has been going on since 2006.

Today, it costs 1.7 cents to make a penny and 8 cents to make a nickel, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

There's a solution, said CNN's report, but there are drawbacks.

The use cheaper metals is one... but the U.S. Mint hasn't identified a metal composition cheaper than zinc, which makes up 97.5% of every penny.

However, the U.S. government could potentially save up to $39 million a year by changing the composition of nickels, dimes and quarters... but it would cost businesses more to use the newly made coinage.

Specifically, industries that rely heavily on coins, such as vending machines and coin-operated laundry machines, would have to change their equipment to accept the new versions of the coins. An industry group estimates that changing the composition of those coins could cost businesses between $2.4 billion and $10 billion to modify coin machines.

The group also assumes that steel may be a viable solution, but the U.S. Mint has decided that a steel quarter would be too easy to counterfeit, so it has been ruled out.

Presently, there is no timeline regarding a decision on U.S. coins.