Fewer drivers left to enjoy expected diesel price drop

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FREDRICTON, N.B. — Last year’s high diesel prices has translated into fewer independent truckers able to take advantage of this summer’s predicted drop in diesel fuel costs.

Southern New Brunswick Trucking Association president Doras Stennick says there are now 26 per cent fewer independent owner/operators than last summer based in her province.

Stennick says a lot of the decline can be directly attributed to high diesel fuel costs, which deeply hurt the industry last year.

“Independent owner-operators are very much a dying breed. A lot of them lost their trucks,” says Stennick, who is also a Teamsters union representative. “They’re telling us this year there’ll be a two-per-cent decline in the price of diesel fuel but it’s too late for quite a few of them.”

Stennick says a near-capacity Fredericton impound yard clearly illustrates how rough times have hurt the industry.

“The sheriff’s impound is just full of trucks,” he says.

Bill Simpkins, a spokesman with the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, says diesel prices could very well drop because they normally mirror wholesale gasoline prices, which have been declining recently.

“The inventories are pretty good at this time of year and diesel isn’t a high-volume seller,” he explains. “The Canadian inventories are in much better shape than they are in the U.S.”

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