OOIDA/TCA on same road backing fuel surcharge legislation

| 3/29/2002

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) drove home a unified message recently when they agreed to support mandatory fuel surcharge legislation. This bipartisan bill, introduced by Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Kit Bond (R-MO), calls for shippers or carriers to pay a fuel surcharge when the price of diesel fuel rises above $1.15 per gallon.

According to government statistics, the national U.S. average price of diesel fuel was last $1.15 per gallon Dec. 24, 2001, and has continued to climb ever since. This year, the national U.S. average price reached $1.28 cents March 25, with all indicators pointing to further increases.

"We fully expect fuel prices to go higher this year, as they have each time during the last 30 years when there was unrest in the Middle East," said OOIDA President Jim Johnston. "We appreciate the willingness of TCA to work with OOIDA on this important issue, and thank Bob Molinaro, president of Warren Transport, Waterloo, IA, for his leadership in this effort."

On March 3, TCA's Board of Directors voted unanimously to support S1914, the Motor Carrier Fuel Cost Equity Act of 2002. During the Mid America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY, workers at OOIDA's booth generated 4,500 letters signed by truckers to lawmakers in support of the legislation. In addition, the consensus among panelists at the show's Economic Summit (hosted by Newport Communications) was that the ability to collect the surcharge is the key to survival for many in the trucking industry.

Meanwhile, reports indicate more than 200,000 trucks were re-possessed and more than 7,000 motor carriers filed for bankruptcy in the aftermath of high diesel fuel prices during the past two years.

OOIDA's Jim Johnston: "The truckload industry must speak with one voice to address the devastating effect that high fuel prices have on our industry. This bill will help both motor carriers and owner-operators recoup their higher fuel costs, and prevent the demise of thousands of small businesses."
--Dick Larsen, senior editor