OOIDA calls on White House to address fuel, regulatory burden

| Monday, May 09, 2011

Truckers are paying an average of $4.10 for diesel at current prices, and yet truckers are routinely called upon these days to dig even deeper to shoulder the ever-moving target of regulatory burdens. OOIDA has issued a letter urging President Obama to listen to small-business truckers about fuel, energy and counterproductive regulatory actions.

“While OOIDA was founded in response to high fuel prices, almost immediately we engaged in addressing the many unnecessary and costly regulatory burdens placed on the trucking industry by the government,” OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston stated in the letter to Obama dated Monday, May 9.

Johnston notes that diesel prices are $1 higher than they were a year ago, “resulting in an enormous extra burden on small-business truckers, whose average annual income is less than $40,000.”

Accompanying the letter is a document titled Principles to Address High Diesel Fuel Prices Impacting Truckers, drafted and adopted in late April during the spring 2011 meeting of the OOIDA Board of Directors.

OOIDA members have also been testifying at congressional hearings on issues of highway funding, fuel prices and the regulatory landscape.

“As highlighted during recent testimony by OOIDA to the House Small Business Committee, the cost of fuel can easily represent more than 50 percent of a trucker’s operating expenses,” Johnston wrote. “Each time the price of a gallon of diesel fuel increases by a nickel, a trucker’s annual costs increase by $1,000.

Price tracking site ProMiles listed Monday’s national average for diesel at just under $4.12 per gallon including taxes. All but 10 states are carrying a tax-included average above $4, with the highest being California at $4.43. Connecticut follows at $4.38, with Rhode Island and New York following at $4.34.

The cheapest average by state is South Carolina at $3.92, followed by Missouri and Mississippi at around $3.94 a gallon.

OOIDA believes expanding domestic energy production and using the energy here would make a difference in reducing dependence on imported oil.

“OOIDA supports efforts to expand energy production here at home, from the Gulf of Mexico to the new oil-shale opportunities in the West, and urges your Administration to take actions to proceed with new developments and to restart exploration and production operations currently under constraint,” Johnston stated.

In his letter, Johnston promotes market transparency for speculative oil traders and calls on supply chain stakeholders to reduce delays at shipping and receiving facilities.

OOIDA also supports a strong investment in highway infrastructure to improve congested areas.

“High fuel prices are having a clear impact on the thousands of small-business men and women who help keep our nation’s economy moving and growing as owner-operator truck drivers,” Johnston stated.

“By focusing on policies that expand supply, reduce speculation, and address fuel use by the trucking industry in a way that is focused on the role of the driver, your Administration will be taking actions that will result in lower energy usage and costs.”

Click here to read the letter and the accompanying list of energy principles developed by the OOIDA Board.

Following are the weekly price averages for diesel compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration for the week ending Monday, May 9. The national average is down slightly from the previous week but up 97.7 cents from last year:

U.S. – $4.104, down 2 cents
East Coast – $4.117, down 1.1 cents
New England – $4.218, down 1.3 cents
Central Atlantic – $4.248, down 2.1 cents
Lower Atlantic – $4.052, down 0.7 cents
Midwest – $4.066, down 2 cents
Gulf Coast – $4.022, down 3.8 cents
Rocky Mountain – $4.156, unchanged
West Coast – $4.307, down 2.1 cents
California – $4.459, down 0.6 cents

See related story:
Truck drivers focus on ways to lower fuel prices

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