Washington, D.C. Truck drivers honked horns, waved placards and shouted through bullhorns at the Capitol on Monday to protest rising fuel prices they say are hurting their livelihood.
Members of Truckers and Citizens United circled the National Mall before parking their rigs at RFK Stadium. From there, about 100 protesters marched and took shuttles to the Capitol, where an afternoon rally took place.
"The high price for oil is hurting our economy," organizer Mark Kirsch said. "It's hurting middle class people."
The national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is a record $3.51, according to a recent survey of stations by AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. The price for diesel - used to transport most food, industrial and commercial goods - is $4.20 a gallon.
Dave Gares, an independent trucker from Lebanon, Pa., said the $1,400 it costs to fill up his tractor-trailer with 220 gallons of diesel fuel has been a drain on his income.
William Lockridge of the Washington Metropolitan Area Truckers Association said independent truckers are barely breaking even. "If the truck stops, the economy stops," he said.
The truckers are urging Congress to stop subsidizing big oil companies, release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, and end exports of oil from Alaska, among other things.