Diesel Price Surge Threatens Oklahoma's Trucking Industry
Shottenkirk, Jerry, THE JOURNAL RECORD
Supply and demand and a lack of refinery time have sent diesel fuel prices on a steady increase over the last year.
Unleaded gasoline directly affects more Americans and its price has received more attention. But a look at a one-year graph on where diesel has gone has caused concern in the nation's trucking industry.
The national average for diesel is $3.148 per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, part of the Department of Energy. A year ago it was $2.18, and the lowest it's been in the past year is $1.934, recorded on Jan. 10.
Over nine months, diesel fuel prices have increased by $1.21 per gallon.
That makes trucking organizations and companies adjust accordingly. But it's not just truckers. It's anyone who relies on transportation in one way or another in their business.
Farmers and others connected to transportation are also affected by high diesel prices.
The prices have had a major impact on producers across the state, said Ray Wulf, president and chief executive officer of Oklahoma Farmers Union. Phone calls to my office have escalated. Farmers are trying to get the crops into the ground. Fuels prices have put them in a position of not being able to cover their costs.
Wulf said the uncertainly of future prices further impacts farmers' overall concern for their livelihood.
Diesel is the No. 1 fuel for their equipment such as tractors and trucks, he said. They always hold out hope that things will get better. But news reports are calling on another storm materializing in the Gulf of Mexico, and that would further jeopardize refining capacity and it would spike up again.
Wulf said it's a good time to consider the production of other sources. In agriculture, where there's high energy consumption, there needs to be adequate alternatives and choice.
Diesel costs also affect agriculture in various ways. And it has worked its way into the sports arena, particularly horse racing. …