Truckers' pain at the pump being passed to consumers

Posted March 3, 2011
Updated March 4, 2011

— It can be painful enough to fill up at the pump, but the pain is likely to spread to other parts of the economy. People who deliver the goods from the factories to the store shelves are also scrambling to keep up with the price spike.

"The other day, it was a half a tank, and it was $660. When I get to $700, I usually just stop," said professional truck driver Doug Lee.

While regular drivers pay about $3.50 for unleaded regular, truckers are paying about $3.80 for diesel. Truckers buy hundreds of gallons at a time, in a vehicle that might get 10 or 11 miles a gallon, and the extra fuel costs wipe away their profits.

Gas prices drove Lee's dad out of the trucking business a couple years ago.

"He went from four trucks to two to one, and then eventually said, 'I can't do it anymore.' (He) wasn't making any money," Lee said.

William Walsh owns Ninalita Trucking, a Cary company with a fleet of 13 trucks, and said he has budgeted an extra 30 percent for fuel costs this year.

"Right now, it's scaring everybody to death," he said. "I'm going to be meeting with several of my bigger customers this afternoon to plead for more money."

When his customers have to pay more to haul their freight, consumers end up getting the bill.

"As you purchase these goods at the store, you're going to see an increase. The cost of operating is eventually passed to the consumer," said Crystal Collins, president of the North Carolina Trucking Association.

Lee said he isn't worried about losing his dream job of being a truck driver.

"You're always going to need trucks. You're always going to need someone to deliver the food and the gas," he said.

Trucking companies are asking drivers to go easy on the throttle, use cruise control and stop idling when they're parked.


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  • white0333 Mar 4, 2011

    i say trucks go on strike and then lets see what happins.we are working for nothing now so what difference do it make if we sit home ang go broke. ps. our goverment sucks

  • bonnnie Mar 4, 2011

    The politicitions dont care how much the pricee of fuel is thwy can afford it at any cost unlike many of the tax payers in this country. God forbid the goverment to do something about it! I agree with you gmarcum!

  • Coolbeans11 Mar 4, 2011

    "need to get rid of everything in the black house and you will see prices drop" Carroln

    Did you really just say black house??? Seriously?

  • stax359 Mar 4, 2011

    I've been an owner/operator for 24 years. First let me say that fuel has not $1.35 since 1997. The lowest national average for diesel was $2.03, after the $4.00 per gallon average,2-3 years ago. Second, unless you work direct with a shipper, there is a slim chance that you will get a fuel surcharge. lots of loads go thru a broker, in which case they pay a flat rate, even though they have charged the shipper a surcharge, it does not get passed on to the truck

  • whatdidyouexpect Mar 4, 2011

    Trucks do not get 10-11 mpg. 6 mpg is about average. We average 5.28 on our local vocational class 8 trucks. That would be .66 cent a mile.
    rt71383mag - new formalization requiring Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel - Diesel has not been cheaper (than gasoline) to produce in the last several years

  • illegals--GO HOME Mar 4, 2011

    Also, in my comments I was not just referring to the trucking industry as all retailers did this to the consumer because of the rise in the delivery fees charged by the trucking industry. But, NONE of those industries dropped their prices back down to my knowledge as I have paid the same prices in convenience stores, grocery stores, other retail stores and such!

  • illegals--GO HOME Mar 4, 2011

    RM24......that was for auto fuel and diesel dropped to 1.35 right in Whiteville, Lumberton, and Wilmington after it started going down after being over $4 a gallon about 2 years ago before it started creeping back up and up and up!!!

  • rt71383mag Mar 4, 2011

    Just remember: Higher fuel prices = Higher tax revenues collected. Now you have the answer as to why the government doesn't care what we have to pay for fuel.

  • gmarcum Mar 4, 2011

    Yep, let the cost of fuel go up and up, let the cost of food and living go up, but whatever you do DON'T DRILL FOR OIL within our own borders! Stupid politicians.....

  • RM24 Mar 4, 2011

    illegals-go-home: Where were you buying diesel fuel for 1.29? WOW! And I dont mean in 1993 either.