The American Trucking Associations predicts the trucking industry will spend a record $135 billion on fuel in 2008, based on current fuel price forecasts.
This marks a $22 billion increase over the $112.6 billion spent by trucking in 2007.
ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said the trucking industry is experiencing the highest prolonged fuel prices in history. Historically, fuel represented the second-highest operating expense for motor carriers, accounting for as much as 25 percent of total operating costs. For some motor carriers, however, fuel is beginning to surpass labor as their largest expense.
"The trucking industry is making great strides in its efforts to reduce overall fuel consumption. But an affordable supply of diesel fuel is imperative to keep our trucks moving," Graves said. "There is little to suggest that fuel prices will decline any time soon. Yet every day, ATA hears new stories from its members about how escalating fuel prices are hurting their businesses and affecting their livelihood."
The cost to fill the fuel tanks on a typical tractor-trailer has increased 116 percent, or $615, in just five years.
In a statement, ATA called upon Congress and the Bush Administration to "address this crisis situation and move immediately to take steps to increase diesel fuel supply. These include increased refining capacity and the environmentally sound exploration of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Outer Continental Shelf."