Although fewer truckers showed up than organizers hoped, they say a protest in Washington, D.C. Tuesday over high fuel prices did generate some valuable local and national coverage in the media.
Members of Truckers and Citizens United drove their tractor-trailers from FedEx Field in suburban Maryland to Capitol Hill for Tuesday's rally. They were trying to get the message out that the high price of fuel is not only affecting their lives and their livelihoods, but also the economy.
According to published reports, fewer than 20 truckers showed up in Washington to protest fuel prices. More than 100 trucks were expected, but organizers blamed the expensive cost of travel for the low turnout, with many driver spooked by Monday's spike in oil prices and reports of fuel shortages in the Southeast.
The group wants Congress and the president to pass and sign energy legislation before Congress adjourns that would address the hardships caused by record-high gas prices and curb rampant oil speculation. Specifically, the truckers are asking Congress to close loopholes that allow speculators to manipulate oil prices without ever planning to take delivery of the oil, as well as lift some of the bans on offshore drilling, and allow smaller refineries to be built around the Gulf region.
Charlie Claburn, northeast director for the organization, said in an interview with trucking journalist Evan Lockridge "The Lockridge Report" on Sirius Satellite Radio's trucking channel that while they were disappointed in the turnout, they were happy with the number of local and national media reporters at FedEx Field, allowing them to get their message out.
As TV station WJLA in Arlington, Va., reported, "To express their frustration, the truckers blared their horns and taped signs to their trucks reading: 'America is going broke because of oil.'"
The report on WJLA's web site quoted protest organizer Joia Jefferson Nuri as saying, "If gas prices keep going up, you and I are going to have a hard time getting our food, our medicine, all the essentials to our lives. This is really important."