Publisher’s Comment: Diesel debate – adding fuel to the fire

by Rob Wilkins

No more complaining about Highway 407, I promise.

Last month I received several calls and e-mails from truckers supporting my ‘just say no’ protest.

One caller, an owner/operator who was using Highway 407 on a daily basis, calculated the cost to run the highway from end to end during prime time.

He found that, with the new rate increase, close to 30 per cent of his daily profits were going to pay for this luxury.

That was all he needed to join my bandwagon.

If that isn’t enough to keep you off this highway from hell, I don’t know what is, but the decision to use Highway 407 is yours and yours alone.

One thing you don’t have control over is the rising cost of diesel.

Yesterday morning I had a call from a friend who drives for one of this county’s larger courier companies.

On this particular morning, he reported diesel was selling for 82.9 cents a litre.

Add this to the already high cost of insurance and there goes your profit margin.

What’s even more outrageous was the price of gas.

It was going for 80.1 cents.

Can somebody tell me why diesel is more expensive than gas?

I was under the impression that diesel was refined to a lesser extent and, less costly to produce.

In my mind, the price should be reflected at the pumps.

Obviously this is not the case.

I also recall, and it was not so long ago, when diesel was in fact selling for six or seven cents per litre less than gas.

What happened?

To add fuel to the fire – no pun intended – my friend called me back while he was making his way home.

Diesel had hit 88 cents a litre and gas was going for 84.

That’s almost a seven per cent increase in six hours!

If this continues – and some people are predicting prices of a buck a litre if the war breaks out – who’s going to be moving this country’s goods?

It sure as hell won’t be trucks because you’ll be losing your shirts if you take a load under the circumstances in this horrendous environment.

Something needs to change.

It’s our job to make shippers aware of the current business conditions you are experiencing, and you must be prepared to walk away from a load or contract, if it doesn’t make sense.

– Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 416-442-2097.

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