Sponsored by Oregon Business

Trucking industry copes with rising costs

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

 

0411_Trucking
Oregon truckers are coping with rising fuel prices and gas taxes.

A new gas tax and soaring crude prices are prompting Oregon truckers to innovate to protect their bottom lines while passing on as much cost as they can to consumers.

“Everybody’s doing this,” says Scott Smith, a VP at Salem-based May Trucking, which operates nationwide. “This is a game you have to play to continue to be efficient and be a player.”

For May Trucking, that means adjusting routes for fuel efficiency and limiting trucks’ idle time — and tracking both by satellite. It also means surcharging customers to compensate for fuel increases.

May Trucking employs about 500 Oregon truckers — the most in the state. Its size allows it to afford to use satellites, receive about a 10% discount from wholesale fuel vendors and apply a surcharge.

Not so for many of the little guys, says Debra Dunn, head of the Oregon Trucking Association (OTA). Many of them have to eat the rising fuel prices to be competitive. But they can still save through innovation, such as using onboard computers, to monitor fuel efficiency. Or they can resort to usual tactics: efficient rerouting, choosing the most profitable loads and avoiding mountains and snow.

When Oregon legislators voted to increased the gas tax by 6 cents in 2009, hopes were that the economy would have recovered more substantially since the tax went into effect in January 2010. And no one foresaw a series of revolutions in the Middle East that have threatened to push crude prices to $150 a barrel.

“It hurts,” says Marie Dodds, spokeswoman for AAA of Oregon and Idaho. “When the price of diesel shoots up 18 cents in one week as it did [in March] that’s a pretty steep increase to your bottom line.”

Yet, the OTA supports the gas tax, saying the $300 million a year in road projects funded by the tax are important.

May Trucking estimates it will pay $300,000 in new gas taxes. While the company supports the infrastructure repair, it calls the tax unfair because trucks that haul logs are exempt. “This just makes it harder to do business in Oregon,” Smith says.

If fuel prices keep rising more quickly than trucking companies can absorb, they’ll continue to pass on what costs they can to to customers, says University of Oregon economist Tim Duy. “If it’s none," he says, "then the pain will tend to center in the truckers.”

For some in the industry, that could become a fight for survival.

COREY PAUL
 

Comments   

 
Sell it here? Make it here.
0 #1 Time to screw the oil speculators.Sell it here? Make it here. 2011-04-18 11:44:52
There is PLENTY OF OIL - we just allow Wall Street to speculate on it.

Just you watch - two or three months from now, someone will pull the plug - and prices will plunge - just like 2008.

We just keep allowing these asset bubbles... What was it Dubya said about being fooled?
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Are wolves good for business?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 06, 2015
030615-wolf-thumbBY JEFF DELKIN | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

As a local business owner, I believe it’s important to build our economy on a platform of conservation values.  


Read more...

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


Read more...

6 development projects reshaping Bend

The Latest
Thursday, April 09, 2015
bendthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.


Read more...

Game On

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The big news at Oregon Business is we’re getting a ping pong table. After reading the descriptions of the 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon, a disproportionate number of which feature table tennis in the office, I decided it was time to bring our own workplace into the 21st century. It was a tough call, but it’s lonely at the top, and someone has to make the hard decisions.


Read more...

VIDEO: The 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015

videothumbVIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon


Read more...

On the Road

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

My daughter turned 18 last week, and for her birthday I got her a Car2Go membership. Not to label myself a disruptor or anything, but it felt like a groundbreaking moment. The two of us, mother and child, were participating in a new teen rite of passage: Instead of handing over the car keys, I handed over a car-sharing card — with the caveat that she not use the gift as her own personal car service.


Read more...

Bike Chic: 7 stylish options for cyclists

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cycling to work is all the rage. But not everyone wants to arrive at the office messy, sweaty — and unfashionable.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS