More truckers plan to bypass Mount Vernon fuel stops

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 11/5/2008

One Texas trucking company’s recent decision not to fuel up in Mount Vernon, IL, because of a 2-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel there, has prompted other truckers to follow suit.

After reading about Texas-based Clark Freight Line Inc.’s decision not to fuel up their 200-plus trucks, as well as their leased trucks, in Mount Vernon, OOIDA member Doug Geeting decided to take action, too.

Geeting, who is the operations manager for Keltingco Trucking Inc., in Denton, TX, said the company’s 150 trucks will no longer fuel up in Mount Vernon. He also sent an e-mail to Mount Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley, as well as the four City Council members on Wednesday, Nov. 5, explaining why their trucks were no longer going to fuel up in the city because of their tax on diesel.

“Our little trucking company of 150 trucks has told our drivers, ‘do not buy fuel in Mount Vernon, IL,’ ” Geeting told Land Line Magazine.

OOIDA Senior Member David Schnautz, general manager of Clark Freight Lines, said he’s received nothing but support from truckers who are supporting the company’s decision to bypass Mount Vernon for their fuel needs.

“As tough as it is for us to make a living in the trucking industry, there is no point in giving away 2 cents on every gallon when we can fuel a few miles down the road for a cheaper price,” Schnautz told Land Line on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Mount Vernon is known as an oasis for truckers because of its three large truck stops along Interstate 57 and Interstate 64. In September, the City of Mount Vernon imposed the 2-cent tax on diesel, which – combined with a 1 percent restaurant/beverage tax and an increase in the telecommunications tax from 1 percent to 2 percent – is expected to generate about $900,000 more a year in revenue for the city.

OOIDA Life Member Darrell Hicks of Tulare, CA, said he won’t be stopping to fuel up in Mount Vernon any time soon.

“There are plenty of places to do business in any direction from Mount Vernon,” Hicks said. “As far as I am concerned, that whole place can dry up.”

Eileen Unger of Custom Freight Service in Houston, TX, told Land Line it’s about time truckers started fighting back.

“While two cents a gallon may not seem like a lot to somebody who puts 20 gallons in a four-wheel vehicle, two cents is a lot when you pump 200 gallons at a time,” she said. “Truckers can say a lot by not buying fuel in Mount Vernon.”

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