Fuel Surcharge Bills Introduced
March 05, 2002
Legislation that would require a fuel surcharge on all truckload shipments and mandate that 100 percent of the surcharge be passed on to owner-operators has been introduced on Capitol Hill.
The two bills are backed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. The Senate bill, S1914, is sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-Mo.). A similar bill (HR2161) was introduced into the House of Representatives by Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.V.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Both bills are titled the "Motor Carrier Fuel Cost Equity Act."
OOIDA has been pushing for fuel surcharge legislation since fuel prices reached record highs in 2000. Although fuel prices have come back down, the association believes the fuel surcharge bill would prepare the industry for future spikes in price of fuel.
"It's not a question of if fuel prices rise again, it's when," said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. "And that can happen virtually anytime with almost no warning. Given chronic instability in many, if not most oil-producing countries, we are more vulnerable now than ever in history. The structure of our own industry is geared to rapidly escalating prices in response to cold snaps and refinery interruptions, etc."
According to OOIDA, the current fuel surcharge bill is slightly different than the one that passed the House before the last election (HR4441). First, the fuel surcharge would be triggered whenever the current average retail price of diesel goes above $1.15 per gallon, and it would reflect regional differences in fuel prices as tracked by the U.S. Department of Energy.