Friday, April 11, 2008

Gas Prices
Gas prices are driving independent truckers out of business. From the Christian Science Monitor.

Mr. Wood lost his truck last month when he could no longer afford the payments due to the spike in diesel prices. Now he's back to driving for a company.

"In six months, everybody operating on a shoestring will be gone," says Campbell, celebrating his birthday with a senior egg breakfast. "If I had a truck payment, I'd be hurting."

While all Americans are facing sticker shock at the pump these days, truckers have been hit particularly hard, watching the cost of diesel skyrocket past gasoline. The national average for diesel is hovering just above $4 a gallon, due to high crude-oil prices and rising demand for diesel, especially in China and Europe. Truckers often pay close to $1,000 to fill up a tank that might have cost $600 to fill a few years ago.

Independent truckers – those, like Campbell, who own their own rigs – are the ones being hit the hardest. They make up roughly a third of truckers. With little pricing power or ability to collect fuel surcharges, many of them are accepting hauls that barely allow them to break even or that even lose money. Conditions are bad enough that a week ago, some truckers tried scattered protest attempts – strikes, slow drives to tie up traffic, or drives to state capitols – which largely fizzled due to the unorganized nature of the industry.

Everything in this country gets on a truck sometime. It raises the price of everything.

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