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Rising Diesel Cost Burning Up Truckers’ Pay

Posted March 3, 2008
Updated March 4, 2008

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— The price of oil hit a record high Monday – over $103 a barrel. The cost of diesel fuel, used to transport the nation's goods, is also gushing at $3.67 a gallon nationally.

"By the time the end of the day comes, we might make a few dollars," said Don Proulx, owner of G & H Hauling.

Proulx's small trucking business has been hit hard by the rising cost of diesel fuel.

"If he (a trucker) had to drive any distance, at $3.75 a gallon for fuel, he just can't make any money," he said.

The price of diesel has also put the brakes on his brother's trucking business.

"You park them (trucks) when you have to and run them when you can," Ron Proulx said.

The cost of diesel has doubled over the past four years, causing take-home pay for truckers to plummet.

"I know, I myself have not received a paycheck from my company in over three months. It's either pay me or pay the other employees," Ron Proulx said.

The slumping dollar and tension in the oil-rich Middle East have been among the factors in crude's rise.

“I think the market is simply convinced that oil is becoming scarce, and we are still seeing increases in world demand, not just our country. But emerging economies like China and India are rapidly using more energy and therefore more oil,” economist Mike Walden said.

With the overall economy slowing, trucking companies are facing tough decisions.

"If the price doesn't come down, I'm going to have to shut down," Ron Proulx said.

The average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline stood at $3.17 Monday, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

A month ago, the average price of regular gas was $2.96. A year ago, it was $2.37.

The Energy Department expects gas prices to peak at a record level near $3.40 this spring, and some analysts predict pump prices could rise to nearly $4 a gallon when the busy summer driving season arrives.

43 Comments

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  • bluford2 Mar 5, 2008

    north carolina's 30.15 cents a gallon taxes aren't helping matters either; although it is just a mere fraction of the current price per gallon.

    hard times ahead for alot of folks.

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Mar 4, 2008

    Here's the facts. Bush did not create the oil shortage. Leonardo

    Wow! The plot continues to thicken. PEOPLE, there is NO oil shortage! The high prices are a designed to create the illusion of a shortage.

    In the recent past, the good old US of A has just taken what it needs without fear. So why are we so scared of the OPEC Czars? HMMM, kind of makes you wonder who's doin' who don't it.

  • Tripwire Mar 4, 2008

    Independent truckers are definitely going to suffer. Large trucking companies may be in a better position to weather the storm. The truckers will have to charge more haul products to the market place they in turn will have to charge the consumer more for the products. Everyone looses.

  • Tripwire Mar 4, 2008

    Duster- My SUV is paid for so it's still cheaper to run than the price of gas plus a car payment. When it dies completely I will probably buy a more fuel efficient used car. (but right now it has 220 thousand miles and still going strong). My boat is a sailboat with an auxiliary diesel that holds 12 gallons of fuel. The engine is seldom used except to get in an out of the dock. Out of 12 gallons there is still half a tank left from last season. I don't have an RV. my boat is my RV and my second home, So yes, I do allow myself some joys in life otherwise what's the point. I conserve where it's practical.

  • DurhamDude Mar 4, 2008

    Already some owner/operators are having to shut their trucks off at night because of fuel prices. That can make for one COLD night.

  • duster 340 Mar 4, 2008

    Ghostrogue : cutting back may not be the answer for everyone but do you need to run your boat or your SUV or your old hot rod .My car get 34 MPG what about yours ?

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Mar 4, 2008

    TWC...I MUST AGREE

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Mar 4, 2008

    Three terminals are having suppy problems while we discuss price and politics. This time of year should see plenty of product around. Normally the issue is changing to "summer gas" but this year everything is happening at once....

  • Leonardo Mar 4, 2008

    Here's the facts. Bush did not create the oil shortage. There's nothing much he can do to force other countries to pump more oil, and we don't have enough domestic stock to begin to meet our demand. However, what you can fault him for is for the weak dollar which has lost over half of it's value against the Euro since his administration took over. So if the dollar was still strong, a barrel of oil would only cost $50 right now. The reason why the dollar is weak? Because we're spending a TRILLION dollars in Iraq, and we have huge budget deficits because of it.

  • DurhamDude Mar 4, 2008

    Some day the Chinese will outsource their people and they will drive our trucks at $0.05 per mile.

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