MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - It is becoming harder and harder for truck drivers to make their deliveries. Just like you and me, they are feeling the pain at the pump. But for big rig drivers, that pain is magnified.
It is well documented; Memphis is a center for logistics. Nearly ten percent of all local jobs are tied to the transportation industry.
And if you think you hate pulling into the gas station, try driving a big rig.
Unfortunately, fuel prices for everybody are headed to the moon.
“Gas prices will rise anywhere between five and twenty cents a gallon over the next ten days,” said Jason Toews, co-founder of gasbuddy.com on Feb. 22. “Average increase is going to be about fifteen cents per gallon.”
That’s not good news. On the same day, filling up a 2004 SUV cost seventy two bucks; if you think that’s high, consider the plight of truck drivers.
“When they have to stick $1,000 worth of fuel into their trucks, obviously it is tough for them to do that,” said Joel Henry, president of Inter-modal Cartage Company.
“Right now I’m able to manage,” driver James Boyd told abc24.com, “but if it keeps going up it’ll hurt a little.”
So, what does it cost to fill up a big rig?
“I don’t fill up,” Boyd said, “it would hurt me bad if I did that.”
To be specific, bad translates into $1,200 worth of diesel fuel.
Filling up used to haunt Gregory Brown, a former owner-operator turned fleet driver.
“I was probably paying like $2,000 a week on fuel,” Brown told abc24.com, “I wasn’t bringing anything home.”
A pair of lady drivers out of Georgia, stopped in Memphis to fill up. As they did, the meter on the pump seemed to spin at super speed.
When it stopped it read: $481.12. That was for one tank, on one side of the truck; there was still another tank to fill.
“Lot of sticker shock,” said Rachel Schumacker, owner-operator of the big rig.
That sticker shock promised to eat into Rachel’s profits.
“Profits, what profits?” responded Rachel. “Owner-operators are not profit lines.”
“It definitely costs a lot for truckers,” said Toews, “and there’s nothing they can do but pass that cost along to other companies.”
That means higher prices for everybody; but things are going to get better, right?
“By Memorial Day we’re going to see gas prices reaching around $4.50 in Memphis and the rest of Tennessee,” said Toews.
Rachel Schumacker told abc24.com she doesn’t even pay herself just to keep rolling, and that if all of us are not wiling to absorb some of that fuel cost, she said hopefully all of our favorite things will continue to be delivered.