April 18, 2008 4:10 PM, EDT

Letters to the Editor: Diesel Prices, Truckers’ Strike, Congestion Pricing

These letters appear in the April 14 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
Diesel Prices

I want to know why diesel is so much more expensive than gasoline. Diesel is a byproduct of gasoline. It should be cheaper. I haven’t seen an article on this issue in any of the magazines or newspapers.

Truckers — especially the owner-operators — are drowning as they try to keep the products coming to a store near you and everyone else. I know, because my husband is a trucker.

What is it going to take to correct this awful problem?
People think truckers have it made. Well, I’m here to tell you they do not, unless they have their home paid off, no vehicle payment and someone buying their groceries for their family. I honestly don’t see that myself.

It’s a shame that our government leaders have let this problem get out of hand.

Joyce Starkey
McMinnville, Tenn.

Maybe it is about time the federal government looks into how much diesel is being exported out of the United States.

We need lower prices for diesel, and we need mandatory fuel surcharges. A lot of the brokers are not passing the fuel surcharges to the people paying for the diesel to haul the freight. You can look on any load board and see the moronic rates these people are giving.

Rodney Carr Sr.
Carr Transportation
Gansevoort, N.Y.

I believe that American Trucking Associations is jousting at windmills. If the government released every drop of oil in the strategic reserves, it wouldn’t be enough to carry this nation for more than a week or two at the most.

Exploration and drilling in the “off-limit” areas may help some. However, the environmentalists in our country have caused a mandate for ultra-low-sulfur diesel in our trucks, and so much of the oil from Alaska is of high-sulfur content and is, therefore, exported to China and Japan.

And there is one more thing to consider. The price of crude oil is established on the world market. The people in Brazil are paying the same for oil as the folks in Boise, Idaho. We think that it all begins and ends here in America, but we are but a small piece of the big picture.

The refineries in this country also seem to be cutting back their output, thereby creating higher prices brought about by short supply and high demand. It’s little wonder that ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips are posting record profits every quarter.

We need to get off fossil fuels and onto an alternative energy source. We could then tell Canada, Venezuela and the OPEC nations that we no longer depend on them.

John Head
Vice President/Chief Financial Officer
R & W Transportation
Monument, Colo.

We had a post-hurricane “crisis” and rise in prices because a couple of refineries were “off-line.” Re-fineries had not been built or updated to compensate for those that were off-line.

Perhaps oil companies could justify the money they raked in by saying they were putting it back into their facilities or to research and development of alternative fuels. Since that is not the case, their greed at their customers’ expense is appalling.

Brenda Hay
Zephyrhills, Fla.

I think diesel fuel users ought to note that diesel fuel costs much less to make than gas and is a byproduct in the refining process of making gas. Therefore, diesel fuel should cost much less than gasoline!

We should be putting pressure on the “Big Three” oil companies to remedy this situation.

Michael Kocher
Suzie’s Pilot Car
Olney, Ill.

Truckers’ Strike

I am a retired U.S. Xpress driver, but I’m not uninformed regarding our government’s way of doing business. The independent truckers strike was doomed, just as all previous attempts to strike have been.

So what’s a more workable plan?

Take a strike to Washington, D.C., with a lot of trucks and a few key words: America’s Oil Belongs to Americans, Not Congress.

Surround Washington and park on the streets with large message boards until Congress and the rest of the country become stakeholders in the process of opening America’s undeveloped oil deposits for use.

We talk endlessly about getting off foreign oil in the news and among the media elite. How long must we continue this charade?

But then, I’m just a retired trucker. How would I know?

Bob Watkins
Retired Driver
Oklahoma City

Congestion Pricing

While I understand that New York City has a phenomenal congestion problem, I cannot agree that a schedule of fees is the solution.

Our company delivers small commercial trucks to N.Y.C. businesses and N.Y.C. business offices of national businesses. Our drivers already pay bridge fees, suffer the gridlock of N.Y.C. traffic and pay almost $4 a gallon for fuel. N.Y.C. deliveries are their most difficult, and this fee schedule adds insult to injury.

I hope the city leaders reconvene and establish non-rush-hour shipping and receiving hours for N.Y.C. businesses, or create a bypass or special route for commercial vehicles. Making our most difficult task even more difficult will lead to refusal of truck lines to make N.Y.C. deliveries altogether impossible, I am afraid.

Jo Ann Sawyer
Director of Safety
Mamo Transportation Inc.
Osceola, Ind.