Trucks at Work

Crystal ball gazing

“The stock market has forecast nine of the last five recessions.” -Paul A. Samuelson

It‘s a pretty funny quote, but also a true one in its way, saying basically that forecasts are nowhere near as accurate as we‘d like them to be. That being said, I‘m going to throw my hat in the ring and put a few forecasts out there - they might all turn out to be wrong (and I‘m praying that more than a few of them are) but at least it‘ll provide a measuring stick as to whether 2008 shapes up to be a better - or worse - year than 2007. Here we go:

HOS will stall: With the presidential elections barring down on us in November, don‘t expect a final hours of service (HOS) rule to be delivered. Lawsuits from Public Citizen and the Teamsters will continue to bog HOS rulemaking down, leaving it to 111th Congress and a new presidential administration to sort it all out in 2009.

Mexican trucks go home: Congress already stripped funding for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) cross-border pilot program and though it may find a way to continue, by 2009 it will be shut down. The border to Mexican trucks will most likely be closed permanently in 2009 and vice versa for U.S. trucking, based on my reading of the tea leaves, which is bad thing in my estimation.

Four dollar diesel: I think diesel fuel prices will easily surpass the $4 mark in 2008, probably sooner rather than later, with gasoline following suit. The voracious appetite of the U.S., China, and India for oil is aggravating this and no matter what conservation measures we take as a country, similar efforts won‘t take place in China or India, keeping us all in a pinch.

Freight stays sluggish: We won‘t see freight volumes recover until the third quarter of 2008, around September, if you ask me. As a result, new truck sales will remain stalled and the shortage of drivers will ease, since there won‘t be a lot of freight to move.

Barrack Obama becomes president: There it is, the big roll of the dice. He‘ll trounce Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, pick John Edwards as his running mate, and defeat Republican candidate Rudy Guiliani to win the presidency. He‘ll also make Oprah a special advisor to the president. Hey, it could happen. Let‘s see if I am right.