Bond: Truckers Are Suffering Record Pain at the Pump

Senator’s Energy Tour Stops at Ayerco “The Rocket” Truck Stop

PALMYRA, MO –U.S. Senator Kit Bond today held a press conference at the Ayerco truck shop, known as the “The Rocket” to emphasize the need for a comprehensive energy policy to help ease the burden of high gas prices on trucking companies, independent operators and everyday Missourians.  The event at Ayerco was part of a six-city energy tour across the state to talk to families and businesses about the need for common-sense solutions to our nation’s energy problem. 
 
            “We must get real about America’s energy future.  Truckers are suffering record pain at the pump and need our help immediately,” said Bond.  “The only solution is to open up supplies right here at home that American truckers and drivers need and deserve.”
 
            Families and businesses across the country are struggling with pain at the pump.  Gas prices are at an all-time high – the national average is $3.80-plus a gallon – and climbing.  For truckers, the numbers are even worse.  Diesel fuel is about $4.50 a gallon, and in 2008 alone, diesel prices have risen 34 percent.  Bond noted that just a one-cent increase in the price of diesel costs the trucking industry an additional $391 million per year.  For some carriers, fuel has surpassed labor as their largest expense. 
 
            The pain at the pump for truckers hurts all families and workers, Bond pointed out.  Because trucks haul 70 percent of all freight, rising fuel costs will increase the cost of nearly everything.  Bond stressed that the situation is so bad that some truckers and shippers face layoffs and bankruptcy.  Bond told truckers in Joplin that their pain at the pump reflects Economics 101 - whenever prices are too high, there is too much demand and too little supply.  Missouri is increasing our diesel supply by producing biodiesel at eight operating biodiesel plants in Mexico, Kansas City, Nevada, Lilbourn, Dexter, Steel and Morgan County. There are also two additional biodiesel plants in the pipeline.  The Nation can also unlock new diesel supplies from coal-to-liquid technology that the Air Force is pursuing for its jets, added Bond.
 
            Congress did take one important new step to increase supplies this month by diverting additional deposits to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to consumers instead.  Experts say this could reduce gas and diesel prices up to 24 cents per gallon.  While halting deposits to the SPR is a smart short-term fix, it is not a comprehensive solution, said Bond.  Unfortunately, the current leadership in Congress blocked the American Energy Production Act of 2008, a bill Bond cosponsored to get new oil and gas supplies from northern Alaska, off U.S. coasts and under the Rocky Mountains using modern environmentally friendly technology. 
           
            Bond stressed that the rejection of the comprehensive plan is a continuation of our failed energy policy called “NIMBY” or “not in my back yard.”  NIMBY means that everyone is for affordable energy as long as we don’t try to get it from their part of the country: blocking oil production above the Arctic Circle; no new refineries since the 1970’s; and blocking States that want to allow exploration and drilling for oil in the deep ocean off their shores.   Other failures include plans that focus only on decreasing demand, such as last year’s new CAFE gas mileage requirements, which will take years to make a difference and alone are insufficient to reverse today’s record high gas and diesel prices. 
 
            To get real about our energy future, America must open up supplies right here at home, emphasized Bond.  Making the decision to open up U.S. domestic supplies of oil and gas would send an immediate signal to the world markets that more American supply is on the way.  It will also send a signal to the world that the U.S. is no longer willing to be held hostage by dictators in the Middle East and Latin America.  While safely boosting oil, gas and nuclear power production, America’s comprehensive energy plan must also include increasing alternative sources of energy, and decreasing demand through conservation.