Higher Fuel Prices Are a Double-Edged Sword for Trucking

by | Mar 21, 2022 | Economy, transportation

Have you noticed the prices at the gas pump lately? As a commercial truck driver, how could you not? The price of both diesel and gasoline has been soaring upward lately, hitting trucking companies and owner-operators where it hurts. In some cases, higher fuel prices can even cause real pain. Learn about how high gas prices can increase truckers’ risk of harm and injury – and how to fight back in this new blog post by Hurt Trucker Attorneys.

Inflation Drives Trucking Costs Higher

Alongside inflation, the unstable oil market is a big driver of our rising gas prices. Oil and gas prices initially went up due to the pandemic. Now, prices are continuing to increase because as people are resuming their daily work commutes and going out more on evenings and weekends, the demand for gas has increased.

Increasing supply to meet this demand has been difficult in part due to the driver shortage. With fewer truckers on the roads, an increasing number of fuel tankers are sitting idle, unable to deliver the volume of diesel and gas that is in demand. Strained supply and growing demand leads to higher prices at the pump.

Add in the latest issues abroad with Russia, a large oil-exporter, and the global oil market grows even more unstable, putting even further stress on already-strained supply chains.

How Do Higher Fuel Prices Put Truckers at Risk?

Higher Gas Prices Make Equipment More Expensive

Because trucking is so important to the economy, higher fuel prices lead to higher prices all around. When it costs more to travel, it costs more to deliver important goods and services.This includes tractor trailers and replacement parts, as well as repair and maintenance services. Inflated costs mean a higher barrier to entry for contractors and companies to purchase and maintain their own trucking rigs. There is about a 30% increase in truck and trailer costs due to the higher costs of materials such as lumber, aluminum, steel, and polyethylene.

With the price of goods and services higher, trucking companies and truckers may seek to lower costs by pushing trucks to their limits, potentially risking dangerous equipment malfunctions to save time and money.

Fewer Truckers in the Workforce

The climbing oil prices aren’t doing the trucking industry any favors. As truck driver veterans are retiring, trucking companies are having a difficult time recruiting new drivers. The increased cost of living, longer work days, longer lines at the gas pumps, and not to mention concerns with the pandemic has made truck driving less and less appealing. For the last few years large truckload carriers have been seeing steady 90% annualized turnover rates.

Economic Pressures Are Hard on the Transportation Industry

Inflation is increasing alongside shipping rates. Typically, raw materials and the cost of labor are the biggest concerns for a company’s bottom line. When economists calculate the current and future status of GDP and inflation, they rarely include transportation as a factor. This seems to be changing as we continue to be experiencing a global shipping crisis. The pandemic started it and many other factors are now contributing as well.

According to Reuters, it appears that higher rates and delays in goods traffic will continue to exacerbate inflation well into 2023.

Shipping prices are increasing by as much as 15% on average.

Truckers Deserve to be Safe on the Road

When costs rise, so do pressures on trucking companies and the tendency to push truckers to cut corners. Companies may push to do more with less and owner-operators might be tempted to push their limits. It’s important to stay safe on the road and at the worksite to prevent injury. If a trucker gets injured by negligence or dangerous policy and pressure to break the rules,  contact an attorney at Hurt Truckers.