Historically, according to the ATA, fuel represented the second-highest operating expense for motor carriers, accounting for as much as 25% of total operating costs. For some carriers, however, fuel is starting to surpass labor as the largest expense.
The cost to fill the fuel tanks on a typical tractor trailer has increased 116%, or $615, in just five years, according to the ATA. Because trucks haul 70% of all freight tonnage, the ATA says, rising fuel costs have the potential to increase the cost of all products transported by truck, including food, retail and manufactured goods.
The association is lobbying Congress and the president to take steps to increase diesel fuel supply, including increased refining capacity and "environmentally sound exploration" of areas such as Alaska's National Wildlife Refuge and Outer Continental Shelf.
The American Trucking Associations is a national trade association for the trucking industry.