Truckers Hit Hard By Diesel Prices

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

Don Wagner, from Yerington, has only been a truck business for a year and six months and he's already thinking about changing jobs.

"For owner operators every time diesel fuel goes up five cents a gallon. We lose $2,000 to $3,000 nationwide. Our overhead is just so high."

Wagner pays $725 a year for insurance, $5,000 a year for tires, and diesel fuel is as much as a house payment, every time he fills up. Analysts say the forecast doesn't look much better.

Next summer, a new cleaner-burning diesel fuel will be required for all truckers and that could add 50-cents more to the gallon, which on average is $2.97 in Reno. Jeff Williams, from Medford, Oregon says, "That means my wife and I got some serious discussion on what my future is. Three dollars a gallon was not in the business plan when I started this.

Some of these truckers have been hauling freight since the late 1970s.

Yet, they say while they still make the same amount for delivering the freight, the cost of everything else has gone up meaning, money out of their pockets. Troy Frank, a truck driver from Marshall, Texas says “I understand supply and demand. We have to have the fuel but someone is getting greedy somewhere."

The explanation, given to truckers, is that the cost of crude oil has sky rocketed to more than sixty dollars a barrel. And a fire at the Chevron Corporation's El Segundo refinery, three weeks ago, has squeezed diesel supplies. But, they say the bottom line is that the United States is too dependent on foreign oil. So, guess who gets stuffed with the bill the consumer.

Some truckers have had to raise costs 20-percent just in the past month to survive. Even though they're getting an 8-12 percent fuel surcharge on their freight, they say it's simply not enough.


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