Higher Gas Prices Hit Truckers

Gas prices have been on a noticeable rise lately, but the impact could soon be felt beyond the pump.  That's because truck drivers, who haul an estimated 70 percent of consumer goods in the U.S., are now dealing with the rising cost of fuel.  "Right now you're at about $2.70 per gallon in Texas, and a year ago it was about $2.10, so it's a significant increase," says John Esparza, president and CEO of Texas Trucking Association.  Indeed, Texas gas prices have been on a steady climb since the start of this year, now at their highest levels in almost three years.

Those surging prices might by good for energy and oil exploration companies, but they are a big drag for the trucking industry.  "The cost of fuel is usually the second biggest price or cost for the carrier or truck driver, with labor typically the highest cost," says Esparza.  That higher fuel price impacts the overall shipping costs for goods.  "(Trucking companies) will adjust the price of the shipment to the cost of fuel, so we're certainly set up to be able to adjust to fuel fluctuations," he says.

Those price adjustments in transportation end up as part of the overall cost of goods.  "That's ultimately something that the average consumer sees in the cost of bread or the cost of milk, and even the cost of fuel," says Esparza.

While current prices are much higher than they've been the last couple of years, they aren't at historic levels.  "What's occurring now is not atypical," says Esparza.  "We certainly have seen (the average) well above three-dollars, approaching four-dollars and over four-dollars for the cost of diesel."

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