ATA’s Graves endorses White House fuel price initiatives

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Bill Graves, president and chief executive officer of the American Trucking Associations, applauded White House initiatives to ease the gasoline and diesel fuel price crisis.

“In the short term, the actions announced by the president — a temporary halt to deposits to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a possible moratorium on the switch from methanol to ethanol as a fuel additive, and getting a grip on our industry’s ’boutique fuels’ problem — will buy some time for us take a very necessary longer look at our energy situation,” Graves said today, April 26. “We have long asked for action in each of these areas.”

The U.S. trucking industry, which moves 70 percent of domestic freight, is on schedule to pay $6.6 billion more for fuel this year than last — a total of $94.3 billion, Graves said. “The actions announced by the White House have the support of our motor carriers,” he said. “In the long term, to do our job, we need an assured and adequate supply of fuel along with price stability. While energy conservation and the eventual conversion to new fuels may be the right way to go, each has to be done in a manner that will allow us to continue to move America’s goods ands products efficiently.”

President Bush is delaying this northern summer’s deposits to the reserve, an emergency stockpile of government-owned crude oil. “So by deferring deposits until the fall, we’ll leave a little more oil on the market,” Bush said during a speech in Washington at the Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group for the ethanol industry. “Every little bit helps.”

The plan calls for making sure consumers and taxpayers are treated fairly, promoting greater fuel efficiency, boosting the U.S. gasoline supply and investing aggressively in gasoline alternatives. Bush also has ordered a federal investigation into possible cheating, price gouging or illegal manipulation in the gasoline markets.

“As consumers of 44 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel annually, the trucking industry has a major stake in America’s energy future, and we gladly offer our unique expertise to help solve these critical issues,” Graves said.