FLORENCE, Ky. — Rising costs at the pump are becoming more of a pain for truck drivers as diesel fuel hit a national average of 5.47 per gallon.
Experts said the skyrocketing prices are already crippling an industry dealing with driver shortages.
“Our need for moving America's goods has increased about 3% from a year ago,” said Kevin Burch, former board chairman for the American Trucking Association and current vice president of Martin Transportation. “So you put all of those factors together and here we go with the fuel again. It’s been a challenge for us because you cant deliver America's goods without fuel.”
The American Trucking Association reports that more than 70% of freight is transported via trucks. Fuel surcharges are affecting the cost of goods for everyday Americans and businesses.
“When fuel jumps like that, brokers and customers don’t understand that your costs change overnight,” said Shelli Conaway, a truck driver who stopped in Florence Friday to fuel up. “We're stuck, we have to have it. We cant choose to stay home or take public transportation.”
Conaway's big rig with two 150-gallon tanks cost her nearly $1,000.
“We woke up one day it was under $5,” she said. “The next day it was over $5."
Every year, about 800,000 drivers leave the profession. Experts say rising diesel prices could push more drivers out. Some drivers are opting out of long hauls for short hauls to remain profitable.