SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA urges Bush to act to ease fuel prices

| 1/31/2008

Thursday, Jan. 31, 2007 – “Dear President Bush, on behalf of America’s small business trucking professionals, I am writing to ask that you do all that you can to stabilize the cost of diesel fuel in our country.”

That’s how the letter begins that OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston sent to the president this week.

In it, Johnston explains that a 5-cent increase in fuel costs adds roughly $1,000 to a trucker’s annual costs – and that diesel prices have increased 40 cents per gallon in the past six months alone.

Johnston calls on President Bush to stop putting oil into the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve until fuel prices ease.

“Right now they’re diverting almost 50,000 barrels of oil a day into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” Johnston said during an interview on “Land Line Now.”

“You have a double impact there. You first have the impact at the pump with the federal government competing with consumers for purchasing that fuel.

“The other thing is that the government is using taxpayer dollars to purchase fuel for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at a time when fuel is at its highest price. It makes sense to discontinue that diversion until the price of that fuel drops and it has less impact on consumers.”

Johnston also called on the president to use his influence to try to stop the export of American diesel and biodiesel to other countries, noting that every drop of biodiesel is subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.

“While the U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing the production of biodiesel, the oil companies are exporting it to other countries at a very substantial volume. We are essentially subsidizing biodiesel fuel to other countries which really doesn’t make sense at all,” Johnston said on “Land Line Now.”

A group of U.S. senators have also called on Bush to put a temporary stop to adding more oil to the strategic petroleum reserve.

However, a White House spokeswoman said the president won’t tamper with the reserve unless there’s a “true emergency.”

To read Johnston’s letter, click here.

– By Reed Black, staff writer