Trucking seeks plan to limit effect of fuel costs on economy

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A top trucking official, along with a professional truck driver, on Wednesday, July 30, urged the Bush administration and Congress to implement a comprehensive energy plan that will ensure an affordable supply of oil and limit the effect of rising fuel costs on the U.S. economy.

Speaking at a press conference hosted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the Republican Leadership, Barbara Windsor — president and chief executive officer of Hahn Transportation of New Market, Md. — said the United States needs a comprehensive energy plan that decreases demand for fossil fuels, increases domestic energy production and ensures transparency in the petroleum markets.

“This is a big problem that requires a big solution,” Windsor said. “Trucking delivers America. Trucks transport virtually 100 percent of groceries, medicine, clothing, appliances and even the fuel that’s pumped at the local gas station. Rising fuel prices not only hurt the trucking industry, but the entire American economy.”

Tony Sifford, a professional truck driver with more than 1.8 million accident-free miles, compared the year-over-year cost of fuel for his regular roundtrip route from Hillsville, Va., to Dallas. At this time last year, Sifford’s fuel bill was $1,680. That same trip recently cost $2,826.

Sifford said truck drivers are doing their part to reduce fuel consumption by slowing truck speeds, reducing idling and properly maintaining equipment. Such steps, however, do not begin to offset the rising cost of fuel, he said.

“I’m trying to do my part,” Sifford said. “But we can’t continue to run our business at these high prices. The high cost of diesel is cutting into our already tight margins. I’ve had a number of friends go out of business already this year. We’re feeling it at the pump. Something needs to be done.”

The dramatic increase in the price of diesel, which has coincided with a downturn in the economy, is hurting trucking companies nationwide. The trucking industry is experiencing the highest prolonged fuel prices in history. Today, it can cost more than $1,400 to fuel a tractor-trailer. Because trucks haul nearly all consumer goods, rising fuel costs have the potential to increase the cost of everything transported by truck, including food, retail and manufactured goods.