Local truckers hurt by $4/gallon diesel prices

Lawton_With diesel gas now above four dollars a gallon, truckers across the nation are protesting. They're upset because many truck companies are passing the higher diesel costs onto them, which means those drivers are paying more at the pump, and it's coming right out of their pocket. So all this week truckers across the country are protesting by pulling over, picketing at gas stations, and even driving far below the speed limit.

Local trucking company owner/operator Ken Mays says he's not necessarily participating in the strike because he wants to, it's because he has to. He says at the rate gas prices are rising, he's barely surviving, and doesn't know how much longer his company will last.

Mays has been a trucker for years, but this is the first time he's seen diesel gas prices spike above four dollars a gallon. "If you put fuel and wages together, I'm paying right at about a dollar-ten a mile, just for fuel and wages," Mays said. "That's not including taxes, permits, licensing, insurance, nothing., and that's what they're wanting to pay for you to move their freight. You can't exist that way."

Mays says truckers across the country are fighting just to break even. "Well and at such low prices, are you basically paying them to move their freight?" "Uh, well, when we move for that price, yeah we are," he said. "They're getting it dirt cheap."

He says something's gotta give. And while he agrees with the truckers for striking, he says their protesting isn't going to get anything done. "They gotta just band together and say 'OK, we've got to have this amount, we can't move it for anything less,'" he said. "And we're not getting rich. I've got two trucks parked right now because I can't afford to run them."

Mays says for right now the truckers are absorbing the loss. But if this situation continues, it's going to hurt you at home even more. "If the bigger companies get us independent owner/operators out of the business, then you're going to have a monopoly going on, and look at the price go up on the shelves then," he said. "They're complaining now, but wait until that happens."

Mays says if diesel gas prices ever get to five dollars a gallon it will completely shut down small trucking companies across the country.

The nationwide strike is expected to continue until Saturday. While some oil companies' high profit margins are being called into question, lawmakers do acknowledge there's little congress can do to bring gas prices down.