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For truck drivers, frustration soars along with gas prices

Truck refueling on a petrol station

Truck drivers are paying nearly $1,000 to fill their tanks, prompting some long-time trucking professionals to say it’s close to the highest they’ve ever seen. Diesel’s national average right now is a shocking $4.75 a gallon and expected to go up.  According to AAA, the all-time high of $4.85 was set back in July 2008.

 

Don Quarles, a board member with the Michigan Trucking Association who has been in the business for 43 years, spoke to News 8 in Grand Rapids, Mich., saying fuel surcharges have jumped up as well.

 

“One year ago, fuel surcharges were between 19% and 21%. Today, they’re at 36%,” he said.

 

As fuel surcharges go up, those costs get passed onto retailers and then consumers, everyone is seeing prices rise at the grocery store.

 

Jonathan Bennett, an owner operator from Florida, spoke to WDJT-Milwaukee saying, “Filling up a truck with diesel fuel, spending a thousand dollars, somebody’s going to pay for that. Who’s going to pay for that at the end of the day is going to be the consumer,” said Bennett.

 

At this time last year, diesel’s national average was just over $3 a gallon, about $2 less than where it is today.

 

Quarles added this comes at a challenging time for the industry, which is already struggling with a shortage of drivers. He said during the pandemic a lot of drivers left the industry, and people are hesitant to come back.

 

“A lot of us old timers, we’re getting out of the business and there’s not any young blood coming in,” he said.

 

Interviewed at a Love’s Travel Stop in Holland, Mich., truck driver Donald Proctor, who works for Martin Transportation Systems in Byron Center, told News 8, “I’m going to put a 100 gallons in right now. It’s probably going to be $500 to do it. A year ago, what was it, $2.20 or $2.30 something? Look at what it is now. This is the perfect storm,” he said. “Somewhere somebody has to step up. I don’t talk politics, but somebody has to say, ‘We have to stop this.’ This has to stop.”