The high price of fuel affects all who currently have truck driving jobs, but is especially damaging to those owner/operators who must pay for all their fuel out of their own pockets. This almost always affects the price they have to charge their customers – or if that’s not economically possible, they must take the hit themselves and lose money to keep that account. The high cost of transporting goods to regional and national markets has been steadily increasing over the last few years, with those rising fuel costs being passed on to the end consumer. When people think of the high cost of fuel, they almost always make it about themselves. Though the cost of all fuels is steadily rising, most people only focus on the cost of gasoline for their own vehicles. They don’t realize how many things we use and need everyday are affected by the high cost of diesel fuel for transporting those items from manufacturers to the stores in our area. Many people don’t change their gasoline spending habits at all, preferring to drive the same amount and curbing their spending in other areas of their life, such as buying those extra items they want rather than the gasoline they need.
Without passing on the higher diesel fuel costs, many smaller transportation companies will have a very hard time staying in business. They won’t be able to pay better wages to their drivers in order to keep them and that will affect the number of drivers that will stay working for them when the amount of trucking work slows down due to high transportation costs. It’s definitely a vicious circle that affects every single person in the country in one way or another. When you go to the store and notice that most of the products you are buying cost more now, that will be the biggest reason. Many states have much higher fuel taxes than the national average but still expect the cost of their delivered bread and milk shipments to somehow still be competitive with the rest of the country. This makes for a very complex problem for the transportation company trying to stay in business with the high cost of fuel attacking them from all sides. Some companies have even equipped their vehicles with larger fuel tanks so that they can pass through these particular states without filling up, and saving money for the transport company. Many transport companies have also initiated special no-idling bonus plans for their drivers to keep fuel costs down.
At one point, back before diesel fuel was such a mainstay of the national fuel picture, it used to be tossed away as an unusable by-product. Now, granted, this was quite a few years ago, but the fact is that one of the first things that was chucked out when converting crude oil to gasoline was this thick, diesel mess. Somewhere along the way, it became hugely in demand for the rapidly expanding transportation industry and now costs even more than gasoline. Because of the high cost of diesel fuel, many truckers are even being robbed of their fuel while they sleep in their trucks, with hundreds of gallons of fuel being siphoned out by thieves in the middle of the night. This affects all truckers but is especially hard on owner/operators who must replace the cost of stolen fuel from their own pockets. When owner/operators have to spend more money on fuel costs, they have less money to spend on discretionary items, such as entertainment and clothing.
Most company truckers don’t pay attention to the high diesel fuel costs as they simply pull up and use the company gas card to fill up whenever they need fuel. It only begins to hit home when these drivers aren’t given the pay raises they should regularly get, because the company can’t afford to give their trucking staff raises anymore. Transportation companies will always cover the costs of staying in business first, and then pay their truckers better wages, second. That’s just the nature of doing business. Larger transportation companies may be able to weather the rise in fuel prices, but smaller companies will continue to struggle and will eventually simply fold up and fade away, putting more truckers out of work.