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High gas prices can hurt the regular person by making them pay more at the pump, but high diesel prices can hurt more than just the truckers paying for their diesel. This is because truckers and the trucking industry are a critical part of the supply chain, and high diesel prices can affect the cargo truckers deliver. Here’s a look at the trucking industry, how truck drivers run loads at a loss due to high diesel prices, and what this could mean for the supply chain.

The effects of high gas and diesel prices

Oil prices have been at very high levels recently, and as a result, oil products, which include gas and diesel, have also seen price increases. The result has been a lot of pain at the pump, as hundreds of millions of people are forced to either pay those higher prices or choose not to drive at all. In some places, governments have proposed rebates and gas tax holidays to provide some relief to drivers.

That being said, while some folks can cut down on their driving to save on gas, that’s not possible for many people who rely on their vehicles. This is especially true for folks like Uber drivers or truckers, as fuel prices directly affect how much money they can make with their job. In fact, some truckers have been hit so hard by high diesel prices that they are losing money just by working.

Some truckers are taking loads at a loss due to high diesel prices

A trucker filling up the diesel tank on their vehicle in Berlin, Germany
A trucker filling up the diesel tank | Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images

According to Business Insider, diesel prices have skyrocketed in price, as the price has climbed 76% in the last year alone. Currently, diesel prices are at or near record levels. At the time of writing, the nationwide average price for a gallon of diesel is about $5.80, and obviously, it’ll cost more in some places and less in others.

Either way, truckers across the country will be forced to pay significantly more money just to fuel up. Some carriers, including a small carrier in Maryland, have been forced to take loads at a loss due to those fuel prices. That carrier in Maryland doesn’t have to take loads at a loss, but it’s either that or the truckers are out of a job. 

Additionally, like many other industries, brokers and carriers in the trucking industry will try to offset fuel costs with a surcharge. This surcharge is paid for by whoever needs something shipped. However, truckers often don’t see a breakdown of the costs, so there have been some instances where a company keeps the fuel surcharge for themselves. 

This could lead to a collapse of the trucking industry as a whole

This isn’t the only problem that’s been battering the trucking industry, as the industry has had a driver shortage for a while now. With high diesel prices making it harder for truckers to make ends meet, many truckers may eventually quit the industry. This may lead to another supply chain crisis, but that’s not the end of it.

One way or another, somebody has to pay for those high diesel prices, and it’s usually the consumer. As a result, high diesel prices may turn into high prices on the shelves. It could get worse, too, as according to Business Insider, one trucker from Texas went viral by saying, “If something drastic doesn’t change in the next few weeks/months, I promise you, you’ll see empty shelves everywhere you look.”


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