The American Trucking Associations asked Congress to implement a comprehensive plan to address the soaring price of diesel fuel and ensure an affordable fuel supply for the nation's 3.5 million truck drivers and American consumers.
Testifying on behalf of ATA before the House Committee on Agriculture, ATA Senior Vice President Tim Lynch asked the federal government to implement a plan that ensures transparent petroleum markets free from excessive speculation and manipulation, cuts petroleum demand and expands the petroleum supply.
"The fuel crisis we face today is severe," Lynch said. "There is no one single solution to high oil prices. We need to conserve fuel and increase oil production to emerge from this crisis. But neither of these in itself is a total solution. Congress must embrace a multifaceted approach to solving this problem."
Lynch testified that the current price of petroleum is no longer driven purely by supply and demand and that excessive speculation may be contributing to the rapid increase in the price of oil. ATA believes that increasing the transparency of the petroleum market combined with reasonable position limits could help burst any speculative bubble that has formed. ATA asked Congress to consider the merits of expanding government oversight of electronic petroleum exchanges and requiring the CFTC to establish position limits that ensure adequate liquidity while reigning in excessive speculation.
ATA is also urging the federal government to help bring down the price of diesel fuel and to alleviate trucking companies' hardships by reducing overall demand for oil and increasing domestic oil supply. ATA believes the Federal Government can achieve this by:
- Establishing a national diesel fuel standard;
- Allowing environmentally responsible exploration of oil-rich areas in the United States that are now off-limits;
- Allowing environmentally responsible development of crude resources in oil shale and tar sands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming;
- Continuing to fund EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership Program, which encourages fuel-saving strategies;
- Streamlining EPA's regulatory framework for reviewing and processing applications for additional refinery operations;
- Requiring speed limiters set for 68 mph or lower on all new trucks;
- Setting a national maximum speed limit of 65 mph;
- Suspending the collection of the 12 percent federal excise tax on motor carriers' purchase of auxiliary power units (APUs), which cut the consumption of fuels in idling truck engines; and
- Requiring states to grant a weight exemption for APUs.