By Dave Sweetman, Dana Point, CA
Amid all the terrible things that happened Sept. 11, one of the first speculations was that fuel prices would skyrocket. Sure enough, there were several dealers and truckstops who took advantage of the situation, jacking the price up 35 to 60 cents per gallon. Several went even higher, with reports that some had broken the $3 a gallon mark, albeit briefly.
I subscribe to Prophecy’s Gold “Mile.com” program and tracked fuel prices around the country several times daily while I was in New Jersey. One thing I noticed was the Petro and TA stops held the line and TA even issued an alert, via e-mail, that told dealers to hang in there. There are several of those “other” stops that I watched just go up and up.
Those stops will never see any of my business again. In fact, a very large chain of “Travel Centers” who were the largest offenders of price gouging will never see any of my business either. I have cut their “fuel benefits” card in half and, along with a brief note, am returning it to their corporate headquarters. I have urged fellow drivers to do the same. These very same folks saw fit to contact their corporate customers, advising them to purchase fuel, as they “predicted” the price would escalate. I am only one small owner-operator, with only one truck. My fuel bill last year was over $18,000, with nearly 65 percent of that going to this same company that took advantage of a very bad situation and turned it into a money-making rip-off. They will not see another dime of my money, as my stops, food and fuel purchases will be planned elsewhere.
I pride myself on being a levelheaded business person with a great deal of loyalty to those who stand behind us “little guys.” I also pride myself on being a loyal American and in my opinion, these actions were very anti-American. I also have a great deal of contempt for those who violate what I consider basic human decency and use any occasion for selfish greed that would insure a bigger profit. I doubt that they will miss my piddling amount of business.
I applaud TA and Petro for holding the line and you can bet they will see all of my business in the future.