HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Truck drivers are paying extraordinary prices for gas right now.
News 8 stopped by Love’s Travel Stop in Holland on Wednesday afternoon and saw some truck drivers paying nearly $1,000 to fill their tanks.
Don Quarles, a board member with the Michigan Trucking Association, has been in the business for 43 years.
“These are the highest prices I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said.
As gas prices soar, trucking companies are raising fuel surcharges.
Quarles said that one year ago, fuel surcharges were between 19% and 21%.
“Today, they’re at 36%,” he said. “So the increase is just astronomical.”
Those costs get passed onto retailers, causing prices to rise at the grocery store.
“Everything’s going to be passed on to the customer and then the consumer,” Elburn New, a truck driver, said. “Everybody’s going to hurt from it.”
New works for a Canadian carrier, and he’s feeling the pinch.
“It probably costs me over a two-week pay period about $1,800 more for two weeks for the fuel,” he said. “It’s going to hurt everybody.”
He said the sky-high prices are especially hurting smaller trucking companies.
“They’re making a living with four or five trucks,” New said. “One day you’re paying $3 a gallon, and you get up the next day and it’s $5.15 a gallon. How are they going to deal with it? It’s a sad thing.”
Andrew Dougherty drives from Michigan to Illinois. He just became an owner and operator two months ago.
“It’s cutting in half almost what I can bring home to even invest back in my truck,” Dougherty said. “It’s getting harder to find routes that people are willing to pay.”
It’s throwing his business plan up in the air.
“I planned on working so much and making so much,” he said. “I still work as much, but I don’t make nearly as much now.”
Donald Proctor works for Martin Transportation Systems in Byron Center.
“I’m going to put a 100 gallons in right now,” he told News 8 on Wednesday. “It’s probably going to be $500 to do it. A year ago, what was it, 220 or 230 something? Look at what it is now.”
Quarles added this comes at the worst possible time for the industry, which is already struggling with a shortage of drivers. He said during the pandemic a lot of drivers left the industry, and “people are afraid to come back.”
“A lot of us old timers, we’re getting out of the business and there’s not any young blood coming into the business,” he said.
He added that as gas prices continue to rise, fuel surcharges are going to do the same.
“This is the perfect storm,” he said. “Somewhere somebody has to step up. I don’t talk politics, but somebody in the White House has to say, ‘We have to stop this.’ This has to stop.”