With world events showing the importance of energy independence, the American Trucking Associations called on the Obama administration to stop blocking access to U.S.-held energy assets.

ATA Vice President and Regulatory Affairs Counsel Rich Moskowitz testified on during a Department of Interior hearing Feb 24 on the agency's five-year plan for offshore oil and gas production.

"The trucking industry requires more than 34 billion gallons of diesel fuel to deliver essential commodities like food, medicine, clothing and fuel," Moskowitz said Feb. 24. "Despite advances in alternative energy, the trucking industry will continue to depend on traditional diesel fuel for the foreseeable future,"

"Recent events in Egypt and Libya have highlighted have highlighted how fragile the global oil market is, putting our industry at risk for rapid price spikes, even as we slowly begin to roll to an economic recovery," ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. "Fuel is our members' second largest expense, so uncontrollable spikes cut right at their bottom line."

"Until U.S. policymakers promote the development of domestic sources of energy, like those on the Outer Continental Shelf, America's consumers and truckers will become more dependent on sources of foreign oil," Moskowitz said. "Rising fuel prices hurt truckers twice - first by increasing their operating costs and then by reducing freight volumes as consumers spend more on energy and are forced to reduce their spending on other consumer goods."

In 2010, the trucking industry spent an estimated $101.5 billion on diesel fuel - a 28 percent increase over the previous year. Before the current spike in crude oil prices, ATA estimated that in 2011 carriers will spend roughly $20 billion more at the pump than they did last year.