Trucking Industry Suffers

The U.S. trucking industry is poised to spend $22 billion more on fuel this year than it did last year, with its fuel bill expected to reach $135 billion by the end of 2008, the American Trucking Association said.

The trucking industry’s announcement came this week, as diesel fuel topped $4 a gallon, according to AAA.

ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said the trucking industry is experiencing the highest prolonged fuel costs in its history. For some in the industry, the cost of fuel is beginning to surpass labor costs. Graves said securing an affordable supply of diesel fuel is imperative to keeping the trucking industry running.

A fill-up on the typical tractor-trailer is about $615, a 116% increase over the cost five years ago. Eventually, truckers say, the increase in fuel costs are going to be passed on to consumers who purchase products that are transported by truckers. With the trucking industry hauling about 70 percent of all freight in the U.S., consumers could see prices increase on everything from produce to household goods.

ATA is asking the Bush administration to increase the diesel fuel supply, namely by increasing capacity at refineries and pursuing “environmentally sound exploration” of the Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

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