Fuel Prices Prompt Call for Strike

4/1/2008 Fresno, CA Diesel fuel has soared to an average of $4.18 a gallon in Fresno. One year ago it averaged $3.08.

Trucker Ricky Cullum from Delaware, says a year and a half ago he could fill the tanks on his semi for $550. Now a fill up sets him back $900. He complains that despite the jump in costs, he's not being paid any more to haul a load.

For trucker Ron Fields, of Oregon, this trip out of Fresno may be his last. He says:" Really, if I can get my truck home I'll probably do a voluntary repossession and go out of business that's where I'm at right now."

Both men say they support the strike, but doubt it will have much impact unless the big trucking companies take part. Unlike independent drivers the big companies are passing on the high cost of fuel with surcharges to their customers.

Fresno trucking company owner Jim Gandguglia says fuel costs aren't the biggest problem. He says the housing slump has hurt all segments of the economy. With consumers buying less, he says there is less to ship. He estimates his business is down 15 to 20 per cent.

Some truckers at Klein's Truck Stop in North Fresno say if they're not on the road, it's not because of the strike. They will be idled because they can't find loads that will pay enough to cover their costs.

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