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Simons Petroleum (www.simonspetroleum.com) announced the SuperKnockOut program, a fuel purchasing program designed to reduce losses from nonrecoverable fuel surcharges and provide protection against fuel price spikes. Fleets committing to a minimum quantity of diesel monthly at nearly 200 Pathway Network truckstops can use the program, which works to prevent daily fuel prices from exceeding the weekly Department of Energy average price.

Small Business Administration now offers an online application for businesses seeking disaster assistance loans. The electronic loan application can be accessed via the SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. Businesses can use the online application to seek assistance to cover losses to real estate and property as well as economic injury.

Kenworth Truck Co. said that Paccar Financial is offering a special Vocational Program for customers who buy or lease new, eligible Kenworth Class 8 vocational trucks. The program offers a no-cost two-year 200,000-mile basic vehicle extended warranty, which doubles the standard one-year 100,000-mile warranty. The extended warranty is valued at more than $1,350. The offer ends Dec. 31.

GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services (www.gefleet.com) said it had enhanced its online vehicle configurator, combining up-to-date manufacturer vehicle data and pricing information with a workflow tool to make ordering faster and more accurate.

Carrier Transicold launched a website for its Priority Card holders, www.carrierprioritycard.com, giving customers and dealers instant access to information to manage their accounts.

The Internal Revenue Service last month reminded certain taxpayers that they now must file their heavy vehicle use tax electronically rather than by paper. E-filing of Form 2290 began last year, and individuals and organizations with 25 or more trucks, tractors or other heavy vehicles used on highways now must file the e-form. Most Form 2290s were due by Aug. 31. Last year, motor carriers and others filed more than 700,000 Form 2290s and paid more than $1 billion in federal highway use taxes.

Taxpayers using the e-file option don’t have to wait for a stamped version of the Schedule 1, Schedule of Heavy Highway Vehicles, to be returned by mail because they almost instantly will receive the equivalent of a stamped version electronically. That means vehicle owners won’t have to wait to register with the appropriate state authority when obtaining the proper license tags. For these reasons, the IRS encourages all taxpayers to file electronically.

To file electronically, taxpayers need to select an approved transmitter/software provider for Form 2290. The following companies are IRS-approved developers of electronic business returns:

· Comdata (www.comdata.com/irs2290)
· Instant-2290.com (www.i2290.com)
· Taxsoftware.com (www.taxsoftware.com/2290_product.htm)
· ThinkTrade (www.tax2290.com)

For more information on the Form 2290 requirements, go to www.irs.gov and search IR-2008-94.

NAFTA surface trade rises 6.8 percent
Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico was 6.8 percent higher in May 2008 than in May 2007, reaching $74.1 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

U.S.-Canada surface transportation trade totaled $48.9 billion in May, up 10.5 percent compared to May 2007. The value of imports carried by truck was 6.2 percent lower in May 2008 than May 2007, while the value of exports carried by truck was 10 percent higher. Michigan led all states in surface trade with Canada in May with $5.9 billion.

U.S.-Mexico surface transportation trade totaled $25.2 billion in May, up 0.2 percent compared to May 2007. The value of imports carried by truck was 0.9 percent higher in May 2008 than May 2007, while the value of exports carried by truck was 3.6 percent lower. Texas led all states in surface trade with Mexico in May with $8.1 billion.

Analyst: Truck capacity down 4.5 percent
In the wake of escalating diesel prices, an estimated 970 trucking companies failed in the second quarter of this year, Avondale Partners transportation analyst Donald Broughton reports. The number is slightly higher than the 935 failures Broughton reported for the first quarter of 2008.

Avondale Partners further estimates that 46,000 trucks – 2.4 percent of the nation’s over-the-road heavy-duty truck capacity – were idled during the second quarter. Added to the first-quarter totals, more than 88,000 trucks or 4.5 percent of the capacity have been idled this year, Broughton says.

Broughton believes the pain is easing, however. Not only are fuel prices falling, but the tide is turning in favor of carriers in relationship to their customers. “We see the imbalance between too many trucks and not enough freight, shifting toward too much freight and not enough trucks, as already beginning.” To support this observation, Broughton cites miles per tractor of the publicly held fleets; bill-to-book ratios reported by significant privately held carriers; the behavior of shippers in seeking guarantees of capacity and limits on pricing; and data from truck brokers.

Another factor is that the devaluation of the U.S. dollar has allowed used truck dealers and large fleets to sell many trucks into the export market, especially to Russia and Eastern Europe. “This means that unlike previous cycles where the truck was idled capacity just waiting for demand and a driver, so that it could re-enter the nation’s fleet as capacity again, capacity is first being idled and then eliminated (at least from the U.S.
marketplace). If these trends continue, when demand returns it will have an even more powerful impact than it did last cycle, and capacity will get very tight, very quick.”