Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Truckers protest high fuel prices

Originally Posted on Tue, Apr 01 2008 @ 9:02 PM [EST]

I do not believe these protest will be affective enough to make a difference. I think the best we can hope for is that Congress will actually open their eyes during there investigation of the oil company's profits and realize that there is a BIG D@MN problem.

Truckers protest high fuel prices
Independent haulers snarl traffic, idle rigs
The Associated Press
updated 7:51 p.m. ET, Tues., April. 1, 2008

TRENTON, N.J. - A convoy protesting high diesel prices pulled out of a truck stop south of Atlanta about 30 strong, and got a lot stronger.

By the time the truckers reached a section of Interstate 285 east of the city Tuesday morning, there were about three miles of tractor-trailers, headlights on, caution lights flashing, puttering along at about 20 mph.

“We picked up drivers all along the way,” said Danny Ashley, an independent driver who organized the protest. “A lot of drivers rode by and didn’t stop, but we got a lot of owner-operators who joined in.”

Independent truckers across the country protested fuel prices by pulling off the road or slowing to a crawl. Participation was scattered in the loosely organized protests, fed by Internet postings and CB talk, and the slow-speed demonstrations might have gone unnoticed in places where traffic was bad already.

Truckers hoped the action might pressure President Bush to stabilize prices by using the nation’s oil reserves.

“The gas prices are too high,” said Lamont Newberne, a trucker from Wilmington, N.C., who along with 200 drivers protested at a New Jersey Turnpike service area. “We don’t make enough money to pay our bills and take care of our family.”

On the Turnpike, southbound rigs “as far as the eye can see” staged a short lunchtime protest by moving about 20 mph near Newark, jamming traffic on one of the nation’s most heavily traveled highways, authorities said.

Outside Chicago, three truck drivers were ticketed for impeding traffic on Interstate 55, driving three abreast at low speeds, the state police said.

Near Florida’s Port of Tampa, more than 50 tractor-trailer rigs sat idle as their drivers demanded that contractors pay them more to cover their fuel and other costs.

“We can no longer haul their stuff for what they’re paying,” said David Santiago, 35, a trucker for the past 17 years.

Major trucking companies were not on board, and Teamsters union officials and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association denied organizing the protests.

Federal law prohibits the association from calling for a strike because it is a trade association.

Meanwhile in Washington, top executives of the five biggest U.S. oil companies said they know high prices are hurting consumers but deflected any blame and argued their profits — $123 billion last year — were in line with other industries.

Clayton Boyce, spokesman for the American Trucking Association, said diesel prices are the worst he’s seen but said his organization does not support or condone the strike.

His group is pushing for a number of measures to keep the prices down or to otherwise help truckers, including allowing exploration of oil-rich areas of the U.S. that are now off limits and setting a 65 mph national speed limit.

Newberne, one of the New Jersey protesters, said a typical run carrying produce from Lakeland, Fla., to the Hunt’s Point Market in The Bronx, N.Y., had cost $600 to $700 a year ago. It now runs him $1,000.

Charles Rotenbarger, 49, a trucker from Columbus, Ohio, said he felt helpless.

“The oil company is the boss, what are we going to be able to do about it?” said Rotenbarger, who was at a truck stop at Baldwin, Fla., about 20 miles west of Jacksonville. “The whole world economy is going to be controlled by the oil companies. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

Jimmy Lowry, 51, of St. Petersburg, Fla., and others said it costs about $1 a mile to drive one of the big rigs, although some companies are offering as little as 87 cents a mile. Diesel cost $4.03 a gallon at the truck stop.

Rather than join the protests, some truckers were forced to sit idle because of shippers’ fears of a possible strike.

In western Michigan, independent trucker William Gentry had been scheduled to pick up a load and take it to Boston, but his dispatcher told him there was a change of plans.

“She told me that her shipper was shutting down,” fearing that someone would sabotage deliveries if their drivers worked during the protest, Gentry said at the Tulip City Truck Stop outside Holland, Mich.

He and Bob Sizemore, 55, a 30-year veteran trucker, decided to return to their homes in Ohio, 280-mile trips that would cost each one about $200 of their own money for fuel alone.

“We can’t ride around here looking for freight,” said Gentry, 47, a driver for 23 years.
If something isn’t done about fuel prices, the cost of consumer goods will shoot up, Gentry said. “People aren’t seeing that the more we pay, the more they’re going to pay.”

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Related Pictures:

A man walks through an area of parked trucks near the Port of Tampa, Tuesday morning, April 1, 2008, in Tampa, Fla., in protest of the rising cost of diesel fuel. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says many of its members believe diesel prices at more than $4 a gallon is making it difficult for them to stay in business.
11:56 a.m. ET, 4/1/08

Diesel trucks roar past a truck stop where the price of diesel fuel has reached 4.09 a gallon Tuesday, April 1, 2008 in Bolingbrook, Ill. Top executives of the five biggest U.S. oil companies were pressed Tuesday to explain the soaring fuel prices amid huge industry profits and why they weren't investing more to develop renewable energy source such as wind and solar.
3:19 p.m. ET, 4/1/08


These drivers are hurting big time. But my question is what have some of these guys been doing about it over the years. I have a awful lot of trucks blowing by me at 70+ mph. That means they are putting more money in the tank. Slow that truck down to about 60 or 65 and don't run the truck when your not in it. So many drivers, company drivers included, will park the truck and leave it running while inside getting something to eat and or take a shower.WHY???? Even when it's cold outside this truck is shut down whenever possible. On sunny days when sitting in the truck it gets shut down. With windows rolled up and fans turned off it will stay nice in here for a long time even if it is bitter cold outside. Too many people don't want to be inconvenienced so the truck stays running so it is nice and toasty when cold or nice and cool during warm weather
Comment By: Roadhzrd on Wed, Apr 02 2008 @ 10:26 AM [EST]

Where were these protests when fuel hit $2 and when it hit $3. It just doesn't make sense to me why people wait until the last minute to try to do something. There was talk over a year ago that fuel would get this high.
Comment By: Roadhzrd on Wed, Apr 02 2008 @ 10:31 AM [EST]

I agree with you. It isn't like we went from $1 / gallon to $3-$4 / gallon over night. It has been building for 3, 4, 5 years now. I do believe that carriers should be charging higher surcharges for fuel and in turn should be paying the O/O's higher surcharges. From the outside, it appears that a lot of carriers want to go on like it is business as usual. Charge the higher surcharge and pay the higher surcharge...period. I know this makes it harder for the smaller carriers because they don't have the profit margins to dig as far into as the larger 'mega' carriers and if the price of fuel continues to go up, we are going to see more of the small guys have to close down. This is nothing new. It is just like the small stores facing the 'mega' stores like Wal-Mart. It is the way business is. Most of us would prefer dealing with smaller carriers or smaller stores but our society isn't that way any more.
Comment By: Truckin Tedybehr on Wed, Apr 02 2008 @ 1:28 PM [EST]

It would help if these big companies would give 100% of the surcharge to the ones paying for the fuel. The companies and brokers are keeping a healthy chunk of the surcharge and the little guy gets what's left. That's part of the reason these big companies can afford to runwith the cheap rates.
Comment By: Roadhzrd on Wed, Apr 02 2008 @ 10:17 PM [EST]

It's a battle over..Who's got th deepest pockets..The deeper pocket wins everytime..Bye..Bye..independents..And goodbye professionals...Bring in the cheap flunkies..VM-out!
Comment By: VM on Sat, Apr 12 2008 @ 8:03 AM [EST]

I agree this didn't happen overnight. I don't believe a one day or week or month "STRIKE" will work in the long run.I also agree that we should be shutting the truck off while we aren't in it. I do.I think the best thing to do is conserve fuel.Slow down run Legal don't take loads you can't do legally.When we are doing this the driver shortage wil be even greater and then something will have to be done.Your company can't fire you for being safe and running legal.Only ONE log book.Yes you will make less money for awhile but you will not lose a week or two pay as a traditional strike.The economy is so bad now most drivers can't afford to take even one day without pay.We also can't afford to lose our job because we refused to work.That's for company drivers.Can O/O afford to lose a contract because they refused to pull a load while on strike?I don't want to get started on saying no to cheap freight!O.K. i rambled enough.Roadhzrd/VM do u have a blog here?
Comment By: dmsperl on Wed, Apr 16 2008 @ 11:59 PM [EST]

dmsperl ... Thanks for the comments.
Comment By: Truckin Tedybehr on Thu, Apr 17 2008 @ 6:42 PM [EST]

dmsperl, we both do in the company driver section.
Comment By: Roadhzrd on Sun, Apr 20 2008 @ 4:07 AM [EST]

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