Industry news

| December 12, 2008

Comment from Caterpillar was unavailable at press time.

K. Colin Robertson of Lincoln, Neb., a Crete Carrier driver, is the winner of the Truckload Carriers Association’s eighth annual Truck Driver Photo Contest. Robertson receives $1,000.

  • Second place and $750 went to Dean Coffman of Bellingham, Wash., who drives for Holland Enterprises of Fargo, N.D.

  • Third place and $500 went to Sandy von Cords, a driver for Western Distributing Transportation of Denver.
  • Fourth place and $100 went to Gerry Harker of Wyoming, Mich., who drives for Van Eerden Trucking of Byron Center, Mich.
  • Fifth place and $100 went to John DeMaria of Fairplay, Colo., who
    drives for Ronadero.

  • Sixth place and $100 went to Ryan Avenarius of Dubuque, Iowa, who drives for Simon’s Trucking of Farley, Iowa.


Always a big expense, tires are becoming even more costly as the price of raw materials, especially oil, goes up.

Just as truckers have no choice about paying the passed-down cost of diesel fuel – which surged 34 cents in a single week after Hurricane Rita to a record $3.14 a gallon – spokesmen say the tire industry has no choice but to pass along its own soaring costs.

“It takes about 22 gallons of oil to manufacture a new commercial tire and seven gallons to build retread products,” says Goodyear Tire & Rubber spokesman Dave Wilkins. Each $1 increase in the per-barrel price of oil costs Goodyear $20 million, he says.

“In addition, natural rubber prices hit a 12-year high and surged about 40 percent in a 60-day period this summer,” Wilkins says.

Output from the major rubber-producing nations is expected to remain level or drop, while demand remains high among tire manufacturers worldwide – including those in China, where expansion likewise is driving up prices in global oil markets.

On Oct. 3, Goodyear announced a temporary 30 percent reduction in North American tire production because Hurricane Rita disrupted supplies of raw materials, though all its tire plants continued to operate.

Raw materials account for more than 30 percent of a tire’s costs, and the costs of those materials are expected to climb at least 17 percent this year, says Kurt Danielson, Bridgestone Firestone’s director of commercial marketing for North America. Retail price increases can’t keep pace with those costs, Danielson says.

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