Teamsters official told the Long Beach Harbor Commission April 26 that rising
diesel fuel costs could price port drivers out of their jobs -- this and other action came this week as the U.S. Department of Energy
reported California’s diesel price at
$2.247 – the
highest in the nation.
Lopez, the port representative for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters,
asked the commission to pass a resolution that would help protect the 11,000 or
so independent truckers who haul containers in and out of the ports of Long
Beach and Los Angeles each day.
wants a panel to determine a fuel surcharge on containers. The proceeds would
be passed on to truckers to offset diesel prices, which have risen by about 40
percent in the past three years. However, commission members reportedly said
there’s little they can do to change the situation.
problem has been that the surcharges – the money that businesses pay to drivers
to cover their fuel expenses – are based on the national average, not on
California's average, which tends to be roughly 50 cents higher. And that 50
cents per gallon has to come out of the driver's pocket.
1993, the California Air Resources Board mandated a California-only diesel
fuel. According to an April 28 rucking industry press release, “Oil companies
convinced the government that this fuel recipe would only cost 4-6 cents
per gallon more than
federal fuel. The prices have been significantly higher, ranging from 25-40
cents per gallon higher than the national average until April 2004.”
trucking companies are complaining that as oil companies report record profits, truckers are
forced to buy California fuel, while companies from other states are not
required to purchase California’s diesel mix.
to the trucking company press release, many operations “are parked, and
rumblings from San Diego to Oakland of a truck strike are on the street.”
addition, independent drivers were holding signs to passing motorists on Interstate
said things like "Stop Free Work" and "Fuel 2.15," according
to news reports.