I just re-read your column on “Dropping fuel costs” [Editor's Page, 11/06, pg. 6]. Unfortunately, fuel is still cheap and we Americans simply do not get out of our comfort zone to conserve…. We trucking fleets are unable to control the biggest factors of our fuel burn; schedules and routes. We drive past loads to get to others; like driving to the one that needs to load by 1 pm. Meanwhile, another truck passes the 1 pm load two hours later to get to the 4 pm load. Each of these theoretical trucks was 10 miles from the next available load, but was forced to deadhead three times farther to be “on time.” Does this really make sense? Of course not.
Each day, as a recent survey shows, truckers violate HOS regs to try to make a living. What other industry has workers sit on site for hours without pay, so that they can work all night for wages that pay something like an entry-level tradesman? Truckers drive past their point of delivery at night to get to a truckstop to run their 500-hp. heater (or $8,000 diesel-powered APU) to only drive “back” to the warehouse the next morning. Sure, it's “only” 15 miles or so, but it is uncompensated…and it adds up.
Trucking is a 24 hour a day activity full of uncontrollable factors like weather, traffic delays, and mechanical issues. Why, then, are trucking's primary interfaces (warehouses and ports) rigidly structured and time-limited?… Many of trucking's problems…would be curbed with 24-hour warehouses and ports-facilities fully utilizing their capabilities and offering the flexibility necessary to accommodate their primary counterpart, trucking…The truth is, we Americans as both citizens and as industries do not value fuel any more than we value our drivers. What we do not value we waste. What we waste we will always be lacking.
Danny R. Schnautz
Clark Freight Lines