Truckers Feel the Pinch at the Pump

May 15, 2006 – Posted at 3:19 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, AR -- As fuel prices continue to leave folks feeling the pinch at the pump, they are creating a ripple effect throughout many communities.
With most items imported into Region 8 by truck, consumers are paying the price for food, clothing and other wares. But now even the truckers are feeling the sting from gas prices High fuel prices have left small companies and truckers doing everything they can to cut corners, trying to drive around the inevitable.
“Fuel prices are eating me alive. They're eating all truckers alive. We get a little fuel surcharge, but that doesn't make up the difference of the price of fuel, it's just tearing us up,” said truck driver Harvey Shinault.
With diesel prices at $2.85 in south Jonesboro, trucker say Region 8 is actually one of the cheaper places to fuel up.
“It cost me usually about $180 twice a day,” said trucker Casper White.
“It's $400 a day,” said Justin Pyle, a driver for Townsend Farms, “You know if you fill up one full tank it's $400 a day, no matter how you look at it.”
“On the average it's costing me about $1,000 a week. Anywhere between $1,000 to $1,400, depending on how hard I run,” said Shinault.
Many companies are changing their hauling habits...shorter rides means less fuel.
“My company learned from last year, so they check the computer and it tells them where the cheapest prices are and that's where they designate us to fuel up,” said New York truck driver Paul Belknak.
And the impact of high prices doesn't stop at the pump.
“We're hauling less gas because the prices are so high. It makes a difference on what people are buying,” said White.
“I’ve already noticed a bunch of trucks parked on the road for sale and stuff like that,” said Pyle.
With no relief in sight, many truckers believe prices will only get worse before things get better.