The maritime industry has been a pillar of the economy for as long as shipping vessels have delivered goods and commodities to American shores. In no small part, the Jones Act has been the engine driving this success for nearly a century, requiring that any ship carrying cargo between two ports in the U.S. be American-built, owned and crewed.
Regrettably, not everyone views the Jones Act this way.
For reasons that are due to either a lack of understanding or appreciation for the U.S. maritime industry, the Jones Act is being misidentified once again as an impediment to job creation and even lower product costs.
Joe Petrowski, CEO of Gulf Oil, took the latest shot in what's become a recurring barrage of attacks against the act, suggesting that repealing the law would reduce gasoline prices by as much as 30 cents a gallon.
In other words, using foreign carriers to replace U.S. ships would result in lower gas prices, according to Mr. Petrowski.
(Original story: How can gas prices be slashed? Repeal this act)
That presumption is nothing more than wishful thinking. There are many reasonable and relevant proposals to lower gas prices for American families and secure greater energy independence, but repealing the Jones Act is not one of them.
To refute the claim that the act contributes to higher gas prices, it's necessary to emphasize that the cost for moving a gallon of gasoline on a U.S. ship is less than one penny-per-gallon, on average.
At present, nearly 90 percent of the cost of gasoline is driven by three things: the price of crude oil, refining and taxes. The remaining 10 percent is attributed to marketing, distribution and retailing, leaving room, however big or small, for profit.