Fuel costs clog truck companies; dire steps taken to save pennies

With the cost of diesel fuel having risen at the pump almost 80 percent in the last three years, trucking company owner Tony Tomase crowed about finding a penny on his garage floor yesterday.

“We’re fighting for pennies. You’ve got to,” said Mr. Tomase, owner of GetGo Transportation Co., a trucking company employing more than two dozen drivers in Lake Township. “You make your money on pennies per mile.”
Across the nation, independent truckers are shutting down their rigs and trucking firms are scratching their heads for new ways to save fuel as the ballooning price of diesel flows its way through the economy.
“It’s affecting consumers. It’s affecting owner-operators. A lot of guys are shutting their trucks down,” explained Dave Swartz, director of sales and co-owner of Premium Transportation Logistics, in South Toledo. “The cost of everything is going to go up, because everything moves on a truck.”
According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the average cost for a gallon of diesel fuel in the Midwest this week was $3.78, up more than $1.11 from a year ago and $1.67 a gallon from the same week in 2005. Gas price Web site, www.Gasbuddy.com, yesterday reported diesel prices in the Toledo area as high as $4 per gallon.
Like their counterparts in the airline industry, trucking firms and owner-operators have asked clients to pay fuel surcharges to offset some of those increased costs - but with limited success.
“It’s putting a serious hurt on our members,” said Norita Taylor, a spokesman for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents approximately 160,000 independent truckers.
“We’ve heard of a lot of them who are selling their trucks and signing on as a company driver, or simply sitting until they can get a rate that’s worth turning a wheel.”

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3 Responses to “Fuel costs clog truck companies; dire steps taken to save pennies”

  1. 1 Anonymous

    I shut my truck down on March 7. I’m planning on selling it if I can and going to a company driver. I wasn’t going to run and break even or go broke. Something has to be done about the .20 fuel surcharges. That’s what I was getting on backhaul loads. I say strike against the brokers!

  2. 2 International Trucks

    International Truck is working hard to create more fuel efficient trucks for owner operators. Our new LoneStar can save driver’s up to $8,000 at the pump. Check it out, http://www.internationaltrucks.com

    The team at International

  3. 3 Radioman

    I hear ya on not worth running a truck if you are breaking even, or losing money. If all would stop hauling the cheap freight, and leave it to sit, then those cheap brokers would have to up the price in order to move it.

    As for buying a new truck that saves money on fuel, I don’t think this is the answer we are looking for. O/O are not making money now with the older equipment, with lower payments. How would they make money with a NEW truck with higher payments? Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing international finally come out with a decent looking and decent running truck. But I just don’t see this helping those who are losing money now.

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