Truckers, business owners, consumers gather to protest high fuel prices

| 4/11/2008

A wide spectrum of people – from truckers to business owners to soccer moms – turned out to protest record-high fuel price at a day-long rally on Friday, April 11, in Chehalis, WA.

OOIDA members Sherrie and Bob Bond of Chehalis, WA, own five log trucks. Sherrie Bond said they organized the event in an attempt to garner mainstream attention to the fact that high diesel prices are not only hurting truckers and small businesses, but are also affecting consumers’ ability to afford the goods they take to stores.

“I am hopeful about this today – everyone has been very positive with their support,” she told Land Line on Friday, April 11. “We are right here next to the freeway so we have a lot of support from people that are going back and forth giving us the thumbs up. You can hear the horns honking in support of what we are doing here.”

Around 10 a.m., Bond said, there was a convoy of about 20 trucks on their way from Olympia, WA, to join the rally. At that point in the morning, she had already been interviewed by local media and was preparing for radio interviews planned later Friday.

She said many log truckers showed up in their pickup trucks instead of their rigs today because they “just couldn’t afford the diesel to get their trucks over here.”

The chatter on the CB was positive from truckers who passed by their rally, which could be seen from Interstate 5. Many said they are headed back to join the protest after they delivered their loads.

“We have everyone, I’m telling you, from a septic tank pumper to some in motor homes to some here today in minivans, even some soccer moms here supporting us today, which is great,” she said.

Attendees at the rally were asked to sign a letter to President Bush in the hopes of making him aware of the “cross-section of people who are being impacted by these high prices.” The letter also asks President Bush to cease the diversion of oil supplies to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and allow that product to directly enter the marketplace.

OOIDA members Diana and Richard Parker of Moxee, WA, which is about 150 miles away from Chehalis, put signs up in their yard Friday to show their support for the fuel protest.

“We are about four miles from Yakima and I’ve been involved in things like this before,” Diana Parker told Land Line on Friday, April 11. “If anyone asks, I am going to tell them I am doing this to protest high diesel prices and I also have trucks.”

OOIDA member Felix Ford of Houston, TX, told Land Line on Thursday, April 10, he fully supports what truckers in the state of Washington are doing to shine the media spotlight on the problems truckers are facing right now.

“Granted, it’s a weak economy right now, but I am seeing extremely high fuel prices and freight rates that are just too low for me to haul for,” Ford said. “I am an independent trucker and I am feeling the crunch like most truckers. I may not make it much longer if this continues.”

Right now, Ford said he mainly hauling oil field equipment, but has been sitting when he can’t get a load that pays him what he needs to run.

“It’s almost a no-win situation for me,” he said. “Because if you don’t move the truck you have no money coming in, but if you move it for the cost they are offering you are almost working for free.”

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer