ATA warns of ballooning fuel expense

The American Trucking Assns. has announced that it forecasts the trucking industry will spend about $87.7 billion on fuel this year, or one-third more than the $65.9 billion spent in 2004. The expanding U.S. economy, coupled with ballooning pump prices have contributed to the massive year-over-year jump.

Diesel costs remain the number one concern of motor carriers, according to ATA president & CEO Bill Graves. ATA warned that fuel could likely be a ballooning expense for the trucking industry, as retail ultra low sulfur diesel is expected to replace today's low sulfur diesel by Oct. 15 and less fuel efficient low-emission diesel engines will be rolled out by OEMs in 2007.

ATA added that ULSD could have a 5- to 13-cent cost premium over today's diesel. Meanwhile, low-emission diesel engines are expected to have a 1% or more loss in fuel economy, according to truck OEMs.

"Motor carriers continue to face significant pressures from high fuel costs," Graves said. "The revised fuel costs further demonstrate the urgency of our situation."

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