When the price of diesel goes up, the cost of everything else follows.
Peak travel season is upon us and gasoline prices continue to soar. Americans are rightfully concerned as the cost of filling up their tank keeps going up at the pump. And while most may not pay as much thought to the price of diesel, the reality is that number weighs even heavier on their pocketbooks.
Virtually every good you can think of travels by truck before it’s in your reach. And today’s trucks, by and large, run on diesel. The price of diesel is baked into the price of everything else, gasoline included.
Right now, motor carriers are getting slammed by nightmarish surges in the price of diesel. It’s especially hard on smaller fleets, which don’t operate at a scale to negotiate rates down or lock prices into a contract. These small businesses account for 97% of trucking companies in the U.S., running 20 trucks or fewer.
This is a problem, and not just for truckers. When the price of diesel goes up, the cost of everything else follows. Inflation can’t be controlled without some relief in price of diesel, because all U.S. supply chains begin and end with our nation’s truck fleet.
Fortunately, this is a solvable problem. We call on Washington to take the following actions:
Utilize the oil and natural gas found in the Gulf of Mexico by expediting lease sales and permits for offshore energy production.
Fast-track onshore oil & natural gas permitting to spur expanded production.
Announce realistic leasing and development opportunities for onshore & offshore energy.
Expedite permitting for pipelines and other energy infrastructure.
Encourage expedited carbon capture & sequestration rulemaking to ensure that America remains a world-leader in emissions reduction.
Will trucks always run on diesel? Of course not. While battery electric and hydrogen fuel cells are on the horizon, decarbonization of the freight sector cannot be realized overnight. Forcing it before it makes economic and technological sense will not accelerate its arrival but instead prolong it. A large tractor-trailer traveling 100,000 miles per year consumes as much electricity as 18 homes or 44 electric cars. There is simply not enough power on the grid to electrify America's future truck and car fleets, let alone the charging infrastructure.
That doesn’t mean we aren’t modernizing. The innovation spurred by our industry puts trucking at the cutting edge of vehicle emissions reduction. Over the last three decades, emissions from new trucks have been reduced by more than 98%. It would take 60 of today's clean diesel trucks to equal the emissions of one truck sold in 1988.
So as we keep an eye toward the future, it’s imperative that policymakers stay focused on the here-and-now. The energy crisis facing motorists and truckers today is compounding a supply chain crisis. The elevated price of diesel now threatens to slide our economy back into recession. We need to expand domestic energy production, and fast.