Rising diesel prices lead to layoffs in trucking industry

Morning In America

(NewsNation) — It’s a problem many have been hearing about for months now: the high price of gas. But what many who aren’t in the industry might not realize is how the skyrocketing cost of diesel fuel, in particular, is hurting truckers.

While the Energy Information Administration said gas prices are down by one penny in the last week, that’s not giving any relief to drivers, who say some companies are being forced to lay off employees.

That’s the case for Omar Edwards of North Carolina, a truck driver who owns and operates his own company. He’s had to let some employees go, and is looking for other ways to maximize profit.

“I’m heading over to Atlanta to actually pick up one of my drivers,” Edwards said. “We’re going to be team driving right now.”

Speaking to NewsNation local affiliate WJZY, Edwards said this could lead to less trucks on the road.

“A lot of these trucks you see now are not going to be here anymore. A lot of these trucks are a small company like myself that just can’t afford to pay these high prices,” Edwards said.

AAA on Tuesday recorded a record national average of $5.57 for a gallon of diesel fuel. Part of the reason for the high gas and diesel fuel prices is the war in Ukraine, but also the rise in commercial activity.

AAA spokesperson Clay Ingram said demand for diesel is going up across the country as truckers transport “more and more goods.”

“People are shopping online, people are out spending money again,” he said.

Maurice Burnside, owner of Phaymis Trucking Company, said on NewsNation’s “Morning in America” that his fuel costs have nearly doubled from last year— going from $10,000 to $18,000.

“It’s a struggle,” he said. “The longer hauls are a bit more of a challenge. What we’ve been doing with my company, we’ve been taking shorter runs so we spend less money in diesel, but we also make less money.”

With high diesel prices expected to rise, Burnside expects the situation will continue to be detrimental to a lot of people.

“You can’t operate like that,” he said. “We can’t drive for free. We have families to take care of.”

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