News Archive

Antiquated law adds billions to fuel costs

Editor's note: The op-ed was written by William F. Shughart, J. Fish Smith Professor in Public Choice at Utah State University. In addition to running in the Deseret News it was also picked up by several other newspapers across the country, including the Arizona Daily Star, the Yakima Herald-Republic, the Gainesville Times in Georgia, and the Duluth News Tribune in Minnesota.

New York Post

By William F. Shughart II

An obscure 1920 law is costing Americans billions of dollars a year in higher fuel costs.

The Jones Act requires that cargo shipped from one US port to another be carried on a US-registered vessel, built, owned and crewed by Americans. This protectionist law was designed to support a shipbuilding industry that no longer exists — but inertia and labor-union muscle keep it on the books.

The law mainly makes the news in time of crisis. It delayed shipment of road salt to New Jersey during a shortage last winter — happily, without incident, as the weather moderated before the Garden State had to shut down its highways for lack of salt.

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