An article in today’s New York Times looks at the impact of fuel prices on truckers.
The Times cites a report by America’s Commercial Transportation Research group that says 45,000 tractors, or more than 3 percent of the nation’s tractor fleet, have departed from U.S. highways since early last year. That surpasses the last great shakeout, in the early 1980s, when deregulation – along with a recession, high interest rates and the second Arab oil embargo – took out 33,000 tractors.
It also cites a Commerce Department report that says nearly 24,000 used, over-the-road tractors have been exported to other countries in the last year. The weakness of the dollar is one reason more trucks are going abroad. According to the article, many of the trucks end up in Russia, a strong outlet for the used trucks.
Thousands of truckers have sold their used rigs because the soaring price of diesel has stripped the profit from hauling.