A Free-Market Energy Blog

Obama’s Truck Hit (Higher costs, higher consumer prices ahead for over-the-road fuel diet)

By Allen Brooks -- July 6, 2015

“From a fuel-efficiency point, trucks deliver over 140 times the cargo as a car, but they do that while only burning about 3.5 times the amount of fuel. That would appear to be a notable achievement.”

“The trucking industry is already harnessed with the increased operating costs from new highway safety rules reducing the number of hours drivers can work each day and in a week. Increased capital investment costs will further squeeze trucking company profitability…. [P]repare for higher costs of all those products you purchase.”

The Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has proposed regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty trucks, requiring that their fuel economy increase up to 40 percent by 2027 compared to baseline 2010 actuals.  This is the next step in heavy-duty vehicle fuel economy efforts begun in 2011.

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Regulation of Public Utilities as a Pseudo Tax

By D. Brady Nelson -- July 2, 2015

“The very term ‘public utility’ … is an absurd one. Every good is useful ‘to the public’, and almost every good, if we take a large enough chunk of supply as the unit, may be considered ‘necessary’. Any designation of a few industries as ‘public utilities’ is completely arbitrary and unjustified.” – Murray Rothbard

Every American business and household is directly and indirectly impacted by the seemingly never-ending rise in public utility prices (including airports, electricity, gas, post, public transport, rail, seaports, telecommunications, and water & sewerage). State and federal regulation of these ‘so called’ natural monopolies (very worryingly, now including the Internet), in fact, virtually ‘locks in’ such an upward trajectory.

Consequently, consumers are paying a ‘pseudo-tax’ that is hidden from plain sight. This is in great part due to, as pointed out by economist Ludwig von Mises, that:

No alleged ‘fact finding’ and no armchair speculation can discover another price at which demand and supply would become equal.

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Cabotage Cronyism: Some History of the Jones Act

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- July 1, 2015

“Forced use of higher-cost U.S.-flag vessels has benefitted domestic water carrier firms, shipbuilding companies, and associated labor. This advantage, however, has been diluted because inflated shipping costs has reduced the attractiveness of barge and tanker transport compared to other alternatives.”

The current debate over legalization of oil exports is intertwined with cabotage (water vessel) protectionism. The previous two posts (Part I; Part II) examined the history of oil-export regulation by the federal government; this post surveys water-vessel restrictions from Washington, D.C., that directly or indirectly impact the oil trade.

In 1808 and 1817, the United States passed legislation reserving coastwise and intercoastal trade to U.S.-built and registered vessels. [1] Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the Jones Act, reaffirmed this policy and extended it to the noncontiguous U.S.

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Oil Export Regulation: 1970s History (Part II)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 30, 2015
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Oil Export Regulation: Pre-1970s History (Part I)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 29, 2015
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Export-Import Bank Reauthorization: Remember Enron (Part II)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 25, 2015
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Export-Import Bank: A Brief Pre-Enron Energy History (Part I)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 24, 2015
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Pope Francis on Climate Change: An Encyclical Failure

By James Rust -- June 23, 2015
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AWED Energy & Environmental Newsletter: June 22, 2015

By -- June 22, 2015
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Exxon Mobil Rejects Crony Energy (Tillerson channels Lee Raymond)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 18, 2015
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