GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – The pain you are feeling at the pump could lead to higher prices at grocery stores, according to the South Carolina Trucking Association.
Whether it’s unleaded, plus, or premium, you may feel the gas prices are hitting your wallets hard, but drivers in the trucking industry are feeling the pinch too.
“Feeling some pain at the pump. Literally, and all signs seem to point to more, and significantly more probably in the next few months to come with what’s going on world-wide,” said Rick Todd, President & CEO of the SC Trucking Association. “Fuel cost next to labor are probably the second highest cost of operating a truck. It has significant impacts on fleet owners and drivers, if you’re owner operator. That impact varies depending on your business model, but none of the impacts are good right now,” he said.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Clifford, an independent truck driver. “I’m only putting in $800 today, but to fill this up, it’ll probably run me about $1,200,” he said.
Clifford said that’s about $500 more than he’s used to paying.
Todd said he’s hearing similar concerns from some of the association’s 600 members–across the state.
“Well, they’re saying they’re seeing it going up and they’re concerned about what they read and hear about too in terms of how high can they go and for how long. We were already concerned about inflation, so this will only add to that and there’s not a whole lot that can be done about it,” Todd said.
“It’s going to get pretty rough because the company I’m with, we’re noticing a lot of our customers that had stuff to move, they’re shutting it down until either prices drop or something changes. They’re not going to move their stuff because they don’t want to pay the fuel surcharge,” Clifford said.
Junior Holder is the Store Manager at Quality Foods in Greer.
“There’s not a thing that comes in this store, including the customers that don’t get here by fuel,” Holder said. “You know all of our stuff comes in on trucks, and if it goes up, they got to go up,” Holder said.
“Some of these independent guys that’s got bread routes, and have to buy their own gas, now they’re having to struggle a little bit,” Holder said. “It don’t really affect your corporate drivers, it affects their company,” he said.
“The people we buy from have more struggle with that than we do. It’s going to be harder to get stuff to the warehouses. That’s where most of the independent truckers, they haul it from the point of origin, to the warehouses, that’s the ones who’re really having the trouble,” Holder said.
“I mean there’s no way that these costs don’t get passed on to consumers, because we are so truck dependent. I mean you don’t have a deep water river where you can barge a product straight to your house. You don’t have an airport to land a plane to deliver to you. You don’t have a train track that leads up to your house or grocery store,” Todd said. “So, these costs will be passed on to the consumer, depends on what they buy–pretty much everything. So, it’s going to be a rough little ride here for awhile I think,” Todd said.
While no one knows what the future holds, the trucking industry is bracing for the future.
“It’s going to slow everything down. It’s going to hurt everybody,” Clifford said.
“We’re kind of use of having tight capacity, but this just adds a little bit of fuel to the fire, so to speak when you talk about pressure when you talk about delivery schedules, the supply chain in general and what it costs to move goods,” Todd said.