In 2006, Pennies No Longer Made Cents
The U.S. Mint produced more than 7.7 billion pennies in 2005, accounting for about half of all U.S. coins made. But the cost of producing a penny, which also includes transportation, labor and other expenses, rose 27% that year.
At the beginning of 2005, it cost only 0.97¢ to produce the penny. By the end of 2006 it cost 1.23 cents to produce the same penny. Then metal price fluctuations further pushed the cost of each penny up to 1.7¢ in 2007.
But Pennies Don't Need to Make Money in Production
A penny that costs 1.7¢ to make still isn't all that big of a deal because that penny is used millions of times over, not just once. If pennies were used only once then thrown away, the cost-benefit analysis would require some sort of solution to the problem. But the multiple usage of each penny more than pays for itself. Even so, many are calling for the repeal of the penny. It is true that the U.S. Mint now looses, when it used to make, money on each penny produced.
"...the U.S. Mint is furiously turning out millions more Lincolns, at a cost of 1.2 cents each. Since they now exceed face value to make, the country is losing money on each one it produces. The increased cost of creating pennies -- which are now mostly made of zinc -- is due to the rising price of zinc and copper."
"It makes sense to stop making cents"
Oakland Tribune. Oakland, Calif.: Jul 6, 2006. pg.1