NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The current high prices at the gas pump in North Texas would be welcomed by drivers filling up with diesel, where the cost of a gallon is now closing in on $5 in some cities.
The increases are coming so fast, up 15% in a week according to AAA Texas, some truck drivers could struggle to keep up, despite a continued high demand for their services.
Meanwhile the increases truck drivers pay are being passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for everything from groceries to household items to building supplies.
The rising prices, which AAA Texas listed at $4.36 for the Fort Worth-Arlington region Monday, March 7, could be a bit of a "dangerous situation" for some truck drivers, said John Esparza, the President and CEO of the Texas Trucking Association.
Independent drivers could accept a job based on a set price, only to find fuel prices rising by the day, cutting into their expected revenue for a trip.
With the supply chain still slowed, other drivers could find themselves idling with expensive fuel rather than on the road making money.
"Maybe they want to look at long haul. Maybe they want to look at other places. That truly is where trucking is hard," Esparza said. "If they get frustrated in certain segments of trucking, at one point do they get frustrated out of the business?"
Fuel surcharges can help, but they don't always account for immediate rise in price, said Jim Grundy, whose company Sisu Energy in Fort Worth provides truck drivers to deliver products to the oil field.
Drivers are still in demand to the point Grundy said the best can still negotiate to cover their shortfall.
"So then what happens is these companies receiving the freight, all they're doing is marking up their goods, putting them on the shelves even higher than what the expectation was, and the end users are paying for it," he said.
Neither Grundy or Esparza saw any sign of immediate relief, with fuel demand still climbing and the spring/summer travel season just underway.
Even if driver demand falls, industrial demand for petroleum is still strong with the supply chain still trying to normalize following the pandemic.
It does make for continued opportunity for employment in the space they said, from driving to dock workers to dispatching.
Grundy said he only receives about 10% of the applications he used to, even with some drivers able to make up to $20,000 a week.
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