Green Country Drivers Feeling the Pinch of High Diesel Prices

Wednesday, October 19th 2005, 5:10 pm
By: News On 6

We've received a number of calls and e-mails from viewers who own local companies that rely on diesel fuel. They're alarmed at the skyrocketing price they're paying at the pump.

Many have asked what's fueling the increase.

News on Six anchor Tami Marler says if you think you're paying a lot to gas up, try filling up five trucks.

That's what Gerald Pearson does every morning.

Gerald Pearson: "Wrote a check for $800. I would say an average per day is $650 to $600, and when we have a busier day it's on up. I wrote one last week, I would say it was $898 for one day."

"I have a problem with my attitude when I have to write one like that because it really irritates me because I feel like it's totally unnecessary."

Last October, Oklahoma diesel consumers were paying $1.94 a gallon, nearly 7% less than the rest of the nation.

Today, the gap is a narrower: 2% savings for Oklahomans, compared with the national average.

Still, compared with nearby states, Oklahoma's prices are lower than all but Missouri.

It's no comfort to Oakey Pearson, who's owned OAP trucking for five years.

Oakey Pearson: "Two years ago up until now our fuel bill used to be 2-3 thousand dollars a month. Now it's up over ten thousand. We're a small business. We can't continue like this, with those kind of price increases."

She and Gerald bid contracts when prices were a fraction what they are now, and there's no way to make up the loss.

"We have insurance, we have workmen's comp, we have all of the other things that goes with business. But when the fuel increases as much as it has in the last three months even, it's killing us, because we don't have anything to recover from."

"Our only thing that we can consider is going back to our employees and will they be willing to take a cut. But who wants to take a cut?"

Lori Beaver, Truck Driver: "We gotta do what we've gotta do. I wouldn't like to do that, but when it comes to my boss yeah, I think I would have to do that."

Petroleum providers say it's a matter of supply and demand.
For real people like Lori Beaver, it's a matter of paying the bills.

Tami spoke with the Oklahoma Association of Convenience Stores today.

Vance McSpadden blames rising diesel fuel prices on hurricanes Katrina and Rita and says it's easier to import unleaded gasoline from foreign suppliers.

Refiners are telling him prices should come down in the next few weeks.s