Blame the Chicken Tax for High Pickup Truck Prices

The pickup truck chicken tax goes back to World War II

If you have looked at the prices of new cars lately, the price of pickup trucks has not been exempt from the chaos. There is a bit of history involved with the high price of trucks, more specifically, light-duty trucks. You can partly blame the high prices on the chicken tax from the 1960s.

The pickup truck chicken tax goes back to World War II

According to The Dallas Morning News, the high prices for pickup trucks aren’t just in your mind. While the price of all new and used cars is high right now, pickup trucks seem to be at the top of the “expensive” list. Semiconductor chip issues have left automakers scrambling to keep up with demand, but it goes further than that. Imported pickup trucks are subject to a 25% tariff. This keeps the demand high and restricts competition in the market.

During the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, the U.S. imposed a 25% tariff on light-duty trucks, potato starch, dextrin, and brandy. Chicken farming became a huge thing, and chicken became known as a luxury item. European countries placed a 25% tariff on U.S. chicken, and Johnson responded with a tax of his own on imported “luxury” items. The drama surrounding this period from 1961 to 1964 is known as the “chicken war.” Therefore, this is known as the “chicken tax.”

These days, pickup trucks aren’t necessarily a luxury item. Trucks are used for families, work, and towing trailers and RVs. These are just everyday chores for everyday people.

Prices on pickup trucks are up over 40% compared to last year.


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