Rising Cost of Fuel Drawing Fire from Industry Leaders

May 7, 2011

Trucker to Trucker is the premier online resource for buying and selling trucks and equipment and trucking related services. Today, we are looking at senior industry reaction to the rising cost of fuel:

Bill Graves, the CEO and President of the American Trucking Association, told members of the House Natural Resources Committee on March 31, 2011, that in order to allow affordable diesel fuel to the trucking industry, policymakers would have to step up.

In his written statement, Graves stated that there was no one way to solve the problem of high oil prices, that conservation and more drilling combined was the only way to relieve the issue. He told the committee that the trucking industry will likely use 35 billion gallons of diesel fuel and will spend $135.8 billion dollars this year. He noted that in 2010, the industry only spent $100.8 or so billion on fuel, and that the spike in cost has impacted the trucking industry negatively, causing them to raise their prices to pay for the more expensive fuel, and in some cases, to shut down.

Graves stated also that the new national speed limit of 65 miles per hour is not enough to cut the fuel prices. While the speed limit increase does make the trucks more productive, there is still not enough fuel in supply to lower the cost. In essence, Graves proposes that Congress take action to increase the U.S.'s production of crude oil here on the home front and that Congress should also urge the Obama administration to promote oil shale and coal-to-liquid and gas-to-liquid fuels, and should issue more permits for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Graves also criticized the government for failing to promote the development and growth of heavy duty vehicles that are powered by natural gas. He says that the natural gas trucks cost twice what diesel powered trucks cost, so a tax credit might be necessary in order to allow companies to purchase these types of vehicles.

Finally, Graves suggests that Congress should place an incentive on LNG refueling station standardization – weight increases are assured with LNG (liquefied natural gas) trucks and that if there was a federal gross vehicle weight limit variance in place, companies would be more likely to adopt the LNG switchover.

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