Talking turkey

By Robert Lake
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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year and not just because of the football, good food and family gatherings. It’s because it’s the time when I count my blessings and give thanks for the good things in my life.

This year, the trucking industry has blessings to count as well. While bad news always hogs the spotlight, the good news gets lost in the fray. Here are a few good pieces of news we can all be thankful for this year.

Dropping fuel prices
Somehow, against all predictions, fuel prices have taken a steady dip. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average price of a gallon of diesel in early October was $2.546, nearly 5 cents less than the previous week and nearly 60 cents less than the same week in 2005.

The West Coast reported a dramatic decline of more than 10 cents while most other regions say the nosedive was in the 2 cents to 5 cents drop. The Midwest reported the lowest diesel prices at $2.467 per gallon and drivers in the Rocky Mountain region are paying $2.679 per gallon.

These lower prices give an economic kick felt throughout the entire industry.

Large-truck fatalities down in ’05
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that the results for 2005 show a continued trend toward slightly fewer large truck fatalities than the year before. This also includes fewer injuries as well. The FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Progress Reports that there were 2.3 fatalities per 100 million truck vehicle miles traveled. The truck injury rate per 100 million truck vehicle miles traveled decreased slightly from 51 in 2004 to slightly more than 50 in 2005.

Needless worry
The new ultra-low- sulfur diesel fuel slipped into fuel tanks before the required date of Oct.15, and most truckers have barely noticed a difference. What was gearing up to be an ordeal has turned out to be smooth operations. Al Mannato, American Petroleum Institute fuel issues manager says that 85 percent of the diesel sold since September has been ULSD.

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Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and keep the good news rolling.