Higher Gas Prices Means Higher Grocery Bills

3/13/2008 Fresno Most truckers use diesel and 'AAA' says they're paying $4.04 a gallon for it in Fresno. That's the highest it's ever been.

Most of us don't even use diesel to fill up, but the rising cost of diesel fuel may soon cause your grocery prices to surge.

Cars constantly jockey for position at the Arco on Blackstone and Bullard. $3.39 for a gallon of unleaded is as cheap as it gets.

Robert Kamman longs for the good old days. "When I got my car it was 16-cents a gallon and it's gone up since then."

Some people pray for lower prices.

J.J. Oh drives a sleek Mercedes Benz but he still looks for the best deal. "Of course we do and this place is a minimum 20-cents cheaper."

But people should also be worried now that diesel fuel has topped $4 a gallon. Big rigs rumbling down Highway 99 run on diesel. They transport much of our food, whether it's fresh or canned.

Local citrus grower Keith Nilmeier is also in the trucking business. "When you really go down and track an item, that item usually a minimum amount of time it's been on a truck is six times." And those transportation costs ultimately are passed onto consumers.

"Between now and the end of summer we could faced with an additional 20% to 25% cost in food right up front," says Nilmeier.

The diesel fuel to run this tractor through an orange orchard has risen 35-cents a gallon in two weeks.

Nilmeier says the wages he pays for workers to pick oranges and to run the farm used to be his biggest expense. Now fuel costs top the list.

Valley farmers try to save fuel by reducing the number of passes a tractor makes through a field. They'll attach two pieces of equipment, such as a discer and a furrower and do two jobs at the same time.

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