How high gas prices are impacting Central California's trucking industry

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The trucking industry is taking a huge hit as oil prices, especially the cost of diesel, continue to surge across the nation.

Here in the Valley, Dale Mendoza has kept truckers on the roads for more than 52 years with his company Quali-T-Ruck Service.

They recently had to downsize from 25 trucks to six because of the economy and driver shortage. Combined with the cost of fuel, this is the biggest impact he's ever felt.

"Now, it's out of control, almost $5 diesel," he said. "The labor force and the amount of money that we have to pay our drivers to stay in the seats, it's bigger than it's ever been."

That's why he's getting more creative so he doesn't break the bank.

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Scheduling routes for maximum efficiency and working with customers so drivers can get in and out quickly to cover as much ground within their maximum 14-hour day.

"The other thing is, get as much weight on as we can and make it as efficient as we can," he said. "That's real important because at the end of the day, the customer has to pay for more money."

For these truckers, this is the highest price that they've seen in decades.
The Advanced Career Institute Trucking School Executive Director, David Bither, said they're also feeling the pinch at the pump.

"We were paying $3 a gallon and now we are paying $4.80 a gallon currently," he said.

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The trucking school burns through fuel a lot quicker than a truck driver because of the stop-and-go training, but they have simulators to help further the training with fewer miles on the road.

While the high gas prices are costing them thousands of dollars, Bither says he plans to keep trucks on the road.

"Trucks are going to keep going, they are going to keep moving," he said. "It's not going to stop. It's just going to drive the cost of everything else higher."

Mendoza says as these gas prices rise, it hits their customers and will eventually impact consumers in their pockets.
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