Watch CBS News

'Every Penny Gets Passed On To You': Truckers Struggling To Pay Record High Diesel Prices In Massachusetts

FRAMINGHAM (CBS) – It cost $650 for one truck driver to fill his tank at the Framingham rest stop along the Mass Pike Wednesday. For another driver the total was $1,000.

"It's a vicious circle, it's an absolutely vicious circle," said Rick Bergeman, a truck driver heading to Missouri.

The average price of diesel fuel in Massachusetts was $6.16 per gallon Thursday, the highest its ever been, according to AAA. That's 88 cents higher than a week ago and $3.15 more per gallon than it cost at this time last year.

The gap between gas and diesel prices is the widest it's been in decades, according to Suffolk University Economist Jonathan Haughton. "Now the gap is about $1.80. It's much larger than we've really seen in decades," he said.

There are several reasons for that, Haughton explained, including a crude oil shortage in parts of Africa, western countries using diesel for heating, and more ships at work that need diesel to fill up.

"Refineries can't easily switch," he said. "They can't quickly suddenly produce diesel instead of gasoline. That requires equipment, it requires some time. So, I'm afraid we're in for this problem for months to come."

Truck drivers say it's impacting not only their bottom line, but everyone's.

"The sad part about it is every penny of that gets passed on to you, because I can't afford to ride in my truck and pay that kind of fuel price, so what happens is every single thing that goes into my trailer, the prices go up," Rick Bergeman explained. "Every penny of fuel that goes into these trucks comes out of your pocket."

Other drivers at the rest stop told WBZ-TV they've started locking their fuel tanks at night out of fear that people will poke holes in the tank and steal the diesel. "Wake up in the morning, there's no fuel," one driver said.

Haughton says the impact of diesel prices could have both short and long term effects.

"There are about 2 million truckers in the US, and some of them are going to go out of business," he said. "They're not going to be able to come up with the cash to pay for their fuel, and that's going to make things even worse for a while."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.