Canadians among latest to protest fuel prices

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An attempt to launch a North American protest against high fuel prices began in New Brunswick, Canada, this week as hundreds of truckers pulled onto the Trans-Canadian Highway shoulder and stopped their trucks.

The truckers simply pulled over Tuesday, Sept. 13, but did not block traffic. When Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrived and told the truckers to leave, they did so without complaint, according to news reports.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. “Truckers throughout North America have been hard hit with increased full costs. There doesn’t seem to be any relief on the horizon.”

Spencer said that while he’s heard of no major attempt to organize a formal nationwide U.S. fuel-price shutdown in recent days and doesn’t expect one, there have been isolated protests.

Truckers in Washington started an initiative last month to repeal tax laws so that they can continue to afford to drive. On Aug. 10, 200 members of the Northwest Log Truckers Co-Op parked their trucks to protest a fuel tax and high prices.

The same day the log truckers parked their trucks, 652 owner-operators roared bobtail from Hialeah, Fla., to deliver a letter complaining about the lack of a mandatory fuel surcharge to Miami City Commissioner Thomas Regalado.

Spencer said that more drivers are staying home, driving routes close to home or being more selective about loads. “We say, ‘If the load doesn’t pay, don’t haul,'” he said.

Spencer said that if fuel prices push more trucks off the road, it would lead to better pay for those still hauling. “We are in a supply-and-demand business,” he said.