OOIDA member testifies on fuel and regulatory issues

By David Tanner, associate editor

OOIDA Life Member Dick Pingel has 28 years of experience and 3 million safe miles to his credit. The one-truck owner-operator from Plover, WI, recently shared some facts and opinions about trucking during a congressional hearing on the effects of fuel prices on small businesses.

Pingel told the U.S. House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade that a nickel increase at the pump can mean $1,000 in additional fuel costs for a small-business trucker.

“Small-business truckers always drive with an eye towards saving fuel no matter what the price, because our business survival depends on it,” Pingel told the subcommittee.

Although he has been to Washington, DC, numerous times, the hearing on April 14 was the first time Pingel has ever presented testimony.

Pingel presented statistics about the crucial role of small-business truckers. He said 93 percent of carriers have fewer than 20 trucks, and that single truck owner-operators like him make up nearly half of the total number of federally registered motor carriers.

“Considering that the trucking industry exclusively moves about 70 percent of our nation’s goods, and that just about all freight is moved by truck at some point in the supply chain, it’s not hard to see that the cost and burdens that encumber small-business truckers have an impact on our nation’s businesses and consumers,” Pingel told the subcommittee.

“It’s just a bit harder to make ends meet,” Pingel later told Land Line Magazine. “Tires have gone up several times in the last six months. Oil changes have gone up. It’s not just fuel. Everything else is going up as well.”

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-CO, introduced Pingel at the hearing by highlighting his 3 million safe miles. Pingel said he enjoyed the experience.

“I was surprised at how receptive the congressmen were,” Pingel said. “They really can live in a vacuum in Washington, so it’s important for them to hear about how things are for us.” LL