Archive for Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Truckers protest high fuel prices

Jack George, an independent trucker, pickets outside a truck stop in Little Rock, Ark. Truckers across the country on Tuesday protested the high cost of diesel fuel.

Jack George, an independent trucker, pickets outside a truck stop in Little Rock, Ark. Truckers across the country on Tuesday protested the high cost of diesel fuel.

April 2, 2008


— Tons of freight idled across the country Tuesday as independent truckers pulled their rigs off the road while others slowed to a crawl on major highways in a loosely organized protest of high fuel prices.

Using CB radios and trucking Web sites, some truckers called for a strike Tuesday to protest the high cost of diesel fuel, hoping the action might pressure President Bush to stabilize prices by using the nation's oil reserves.

"The gas prices are too high," said Lamont Newberne, a trucker from Wilmington, N.C., who along with 200 drivers protested at a New Jersey Turnpike service area. "We don't make enough money to pay our bills and take care of our family."

Newberne said a typical run carrying produce from Lakeland, Fla., to the Hunt's Point Market in The Bronx, N.Y., cost $600 to $700 a year ago. It now runs him $1,000.

On the Turnpike, southbound rigs "as far as the eye can see" staged a short lunchtime protest by moving about 20 mph near Newark, jamming traffic on one of the nation's most heavily traveled highways, authorities said.

By day's end, the protests ended up scattered; Major trucking companies were not on board, and Teamsters union officials and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association denied organizing the protests.

Federal law prohibits the association from calling for a strike because it is a trade association.

Outside Chicago, three truck drivers were ticketed for impeding traffic on Interstate 55, driving three abreast at low speeds, the state police said. About 30 truckers drove in a convoy around metropolitan Atlanta at low speeds, police said.

Near Florida's Port of Tampa, more than 50 tractor-trailer rigs sat idle as their drivers demanded that contractors pay them more to cover their fuel and other costs.

Jimmy Lowry, 51, of St. Petersburg, Fla., and others said it costs about $1 a mile to drive one of the big rigs, although some companies are offering as little as 87 cents a mile. Diesel cost $4.03 a gallon at the truck stop.

Charles Rotenbarger, 49, a trucker from Columbus, Ohio, said he felt helpless.

"The oil company is the boss; what are we going to be able to do about it?" said Rotenbarger, who was at a truck stop at Baldwin, Fla., about 20 miles west of Jacksonville. "The whole world economy is going to be controlled by the oil companies. There's nothing we can do about it."

Some truckers were forced to sit idle because of shippers' fears of a possible strike.

In western Michigan, independent trucker William Gentry had been scheduled to pick up a load and take it to Boston, but his dispatcher told him there was a change of plans.

"She told me that her shipper was shutting down," fearing that someone would sabotage deliveries if their drivers worked during the protest, Gentry said at the Tulip City Truck Stop outside Holland, Mich.

He and Bob Sizemore, 55, a 30-year veteran trucker, decided to return to their homes in Ohio, 280-mile trips that would cost each one about $200 of their own money for fuel alone.


Ragingbear 9 years, 10 months ago

The diesel fuel prices are much higher than unleaded, and are affecting prices on everything. I went to buy a candy bar in a Dillon's the other day, and it was $1.35 plus tax. Eggs are running nearly $2 a carton, milk cost $3 a gallon and even boxes of "$1" Little Debbies are running $1.50 or more. High Gas Prices do more than just cost us at the pump, it cost everyone in the long run, as prices are passed down until they eventually reach the base consumer. After all, we can't have the big-wigs sacrifice any part their 500 million a year profits in any form, can we?

toefungus 9 years, 10 months ago

Rail. Simple enough. Just park the trucks. They make good storage units.

Christine Pennewell Davis 9 years, 10 months ago

well I do not see any railroad trucks near dillons, hyvee, or any other store of any kind. How do you think the product gets from shipyards trains and warehouses to your store? Trucks that is how.

lexi 9 years, 10 months ago

What would happen to the truckers and their jobs? Maybe Dillon's is hiring...

Robert bickers 9 years, 10 months ago

Trains are more efficient than trucks, and pollute less for the same amount of work done. I can understand using rigs to get goods from a rail yard to a store, but not from LA to Chicago. That's just silly, and has been for a while now.(Biofuel is only adding to our economic problems, just look at the price of corn, and is less energy efficient than gasoline or diesel, thus further increasing fuel costs. Frankly, it's a disaster, drawing funding away from research into potentially superior fuels.)

Loretta James 9 years, 10 months ago

The railroad is higher that the trucks and u still have to have the truck to get it to the stores. From the mother of a trucker

Larry Bauerle Jr. 9 years, 10 months ago

Though I empathize with their situation, I'm not sure how impeding traffic and making the lives of fellow gas purchasers miserable for a day is going to help. I doubt anyone on the New Jersey turnpike yesterday is going to make the price of diesel drop.

manus_flexibilis 9 years, 10 months ago

smokey and the bandit ring a bell!Buy Old Diesel

gphawk89 9 years, 10 months ago

Trains are way more efficient than trucks if you look at on a per ton / per mile / per gallon basis. But you still need the trucks to make the local deliveries. It's sad that we've let our rail infrastructure deteriorate to the point that we'd have to spend billions to get it back up to snuff. But then you have to weigh that against the billions in damage to our interstate highway system caused by trucks hauling cargo that really belongs on trains. I wonder if anyone has done a study comparing those two costs.And biodiesel is not the answer, folks.

webmocker 9 years, 10 months ago

If the research has been done, this will be a good place to find it.

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