Cost of diesel affects truckers

March 12, 2008 5:21:18 PM PDT
The cost of diesel is soaring and that's having a major impact on independent truckers responsible for their own fuel costs.

Robert Orr of South Carolina has owned and operated his truck for the past five years. With diesel prices rising up to 70 cents a gallon nationwide, he may not have another year in him.

"All I hear is fuel costs fuel costs fuel costs -- everybody is hurting. It's going to put a lot of people out of business," said independent trucker Robert Orr.

He could be next. Orr's a single trucker but with rising fuel prices. He says he can't afford to get married. He's one of more than a dozen independent truckers parked at a Salinas truck stop.

He's been living in his truck since yesterday waiting for a profitable load to haul.

ABC7's Tomas Roman: "That's 24 hours without making any money."

"Yeah, that's about $1,000 gone," said Orr.

Orr has a $2,000 dollar a month truck payment. Diesel prices of $4 dollars a gallon are preventing him from eating out, or sleeping in a motel, just to keep his business going.

"I became an owner operator to get away from living paycheck to paycheck, but here I am again," said Orr.

Independent truckers are responsible for moving most of what California produces. Just about anything you eat drink or wear is delivered by truck.

At a Salinas truck stop, many truckers say they have to park their trucks here to wait for a load. But not just any load; they need one that would make driving their trucks worthwhile.

Independent trucker Charangh Singh and his wife have also been sleeping here in their truck since Monday.

ABC7's Tomas Roman: "You're going to stay here until you find a load?"

"Yeah," said Independent trucker Charangh Singh

ABC7's Tomas Roman: "How long will it take?"

"Maybe two days," said Singh.

At a San Martin gas station the owner says diesel has gone up 40 cents since last month. At the Jessup Trucking Company in Gilroy owners say they've seen prices soar 70 cents in the past five weeks. They say soon everyone will feel the pinch.

Jessup Trucking hauls mostly fresh produce. Even though they didn't want to appear on camera, they told ABC7 News they'd be passing along their cost of fuel increases to the customers who use trucks.

They also told us that food prices still haven't really begun to reflect the high cost of diesel fuel, and they say even though food prices are high now, they'll be getting even higher in the next couple of weeks.


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