Record diesel prices, other roadblocks affect trucking industry in West Valley CityMay 30, 2022 06:22PM ● By Darrell Kirby
By Darrell Kirby | [email protected]
High gas prices are hitting everyone who drives—and even those who don’t.
The cost of fuel, especially diesel, has nearly doubled to record highs in most parts of the U.S. since just last year. The impact is being felt by several trucking companies that have headquarters or regional offices in West Valley City, but they aren’t the only ones impacted.
“It affects the customers more, meaning you and your goods brought to you,” said Neil Sebring, fleet manager for Godfrey Trucking, which is headquartered in West Valley City’s northern industrial and transportation corridor.
He explained that contracts between trucking firms like Godfrey and companies that need their goods shipped include fuel surcharges. The more diesel prices go up, the higher the surcharge that trucking companies tack on to those contracts with businesses wanting to get their products to market.
With diesel running well over $5 a gallon as of mid-May, businesses subjected to those surcharges in turn are passing along the added costs to their customers. That has resulted in price hikes for nearly everything people buy and fueling a 40-year high in the nation’s inflation level which hit an annual rate of 8.3% as of April.
Another problem caused by high gas prices is filling up in one stop. Pumps often limit the dollar amount they dispense in gas, shutting off once the total reaches $999.99. With many semis having two tanks holding 120 to 150 gallons each, it’s hard to fill them both for under $1,000, so drivers have to hit the road with less than full tanks or make another time-consuming fuel stop.
Inflation is hitting truckers in other ways. “Tires, other expenses for the truck are soaring,” Sebring said. Even trucks themselves are more expensive. “Truck prices just in the last year have gone up $10,000 to $20,000 per truck,” he added. Supply chain issues are creating more roadblocks. “Right now, I can’t even order a Volvo (semi) if I wanted to,” Sebring said. “They won’t even say when they can make it or how much it will be.”
Rick Clasby, executive director of the West Valley City-based Utah Trucking Association, echoed Sebring’s assessment of the fuel-price situation. “The increase in fuel cost will add to the increase in transportation fees (for the shipper) which gets passed on to the consumer.”
“I just don’t know how we can sustain this,” Clasby said. “It’s a frustrating thing.”