Diesel Fuel Costs Could Drive Up Consumer Prices
Posted February 21, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST
JOHNSTON COUNTY — Independent truck drivers say the high cost of diesel fuel is driving many of them out of business. They also say consumers could soon be feeling their pain.
A caravan of trucks converged on Washington D.C. Tuesday to protest soaring prices. Truck drivers complain that soaring fuel prices are eating up the low rates they are getting for hauling freight.
The high prices have forced many independent owner-operators to park their rigs.
"You won't get your auto parts, some buyer won't get his tomatoes. You won't have food on your table, you won't have clothes if everybody shuts down," says driver Gino Ferrari.
The average cost of diesel fuel in North Carolina has jumped from 99 cents to $1.45 in the past year.
Kevin Gregory hauls commercial equipment. Like many independent drivers, he is already passing along his increased costs.
"The builders, house builders and stuff like that, just commercial work is going to start going up because of fuel prices," he says.
Prices for gas and diesel fuel are expected to keep increasing. Analysts say prices could rise another 10 to 15 cents before things get better.
North Carolina has the highest motor fuel taxes in the southeast. The taxes help maintain state roads.