Speak Out: ‘Environmental Shutdown’ would work

| December 12, 2008

The recent national truckers’ shutdown or slowdown is providing the same results as with previous strikes: bad publicity for the trucker. Maybe we should take a lesson from the world’s leader on getting attention, liberal environmentalists.

On March 30, there were reports on “Earth Hour,” when a few of the world’s large cities turned off all nonessential lights between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. to “save” one hour’s worth of energy and its related pollution.

Wow, what an idea! And no one complained. All you heard was the good it did. So, maybe it’s time to have a nationwide Truckers Environmental Shutdown for two days to give the good Earth two days of relief from all that diesel use. There might even be some four-wheelers who will shut down with us. Who in their right mind is going to criticize us? And if all goes well, we can extend it to one week in 2009.

On a more serious note, let’s understand the real problem. The United States is no longer the No. 1 consumer of diesel. China has that honor now, and we could lose the No. 2 spot to India. For the most part, those countries’ factories are diesel-powered, and if you go to the leading U.S. retailer and look at where the majority of its goods are made, you know who is to blame. More and more, American manufacturers are going out of business or are moving their plants offshore.

We already have lost much of the textile industry, and are in danger of losing our few remaining furniture makers. We need to address this problem today in order to ensure our success tomorrow.
DAVID B. HURT
Rockford, Ala.

Where’s the outcry?
It amazes me that there is no outrage from the trucking industry concerning the price of diesel. Where is the unity of the industry? If this were back in the 1980s, we would have been circling the White House in protest. This just proves that the trucking industry is in sad shape. Instead of the horse pulling the cart, it is the cart pulling the horse.
LANCE DUCHARME
Thompson, Conn.

Purchasing groups could buy fuel cheaper
Trucking advocacy groups should be doing what the farmer cooperatives did to help farmers years ago. They united and started group purchases of ethanol plants in order to help farmers.

We need to start local groups that unite to pool their resources and start biodiesel plants. There is a large untapped resource out there if all the truckers in the country united to buy biodiesel. We could help create the supply, as well as the demand for the fuel. If farmers can do it with ethanol, then truckers can do it with biodiesel.
KEN SVITKO
Hebron, Ind.

Skyrocketing costs killing small businesses
I have read that 90 percent of the trucking industry consists of small businesses. Yet it seems that no one is speaking up about freight rates not keeping up with the fuel increase, and how some small businesses are going under.

Adding to the problem of expensive fuel are the increasing repairs and operating costs. In February 2007, we paid $2.20 per gallon for 7,400 gallons of bulk fuel. In February 2008, that same bulk amount of fuel costs $3.38 per gallon. That is an increase of $8,732 for just one load. The freight rates have not increased like that. All the news media talk about is how much it costs to fill up your car or heating bills. No one mentions what it will do to the economy when there are not enough trucks to haul freight.
WILMA PETERS
Marion, Texas

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“My way of fighting back is just not hauling the cheap freight. I won’t put a load on my truck anymore that I’m going to lose money on. ”
- Tom Harris of Davidsville, Pa., addressing high fuel costs and the struggle to remain profitable in the Christian Science Monitor.

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