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Thursday, April 03, 2008

When Truckers Get Fed Up, How Will You Get Fed?

Self-righteous politicians recently hauled oil executives in front of their Congressional committee to lambaste them in front of network TV for the high price of oil. Wish they would have hauled in some of the big rice and wheat tycoons also, and the big dairy lords, the cotton kings, and some iron and nickel mining magnates. And what about the obscene profits of the big sprout industry? Mung bean and broccoli sprout prices just keep going up. The solution, of course, to obscene prices in the energy sector is to add more taxes on the backs of oil producers. Yeah, that's right - let's punish the people who are producing the energy we need so we can have more at lower prices. Genius!

I'd like to haul these politicians before my little committee and grill them. Why have you made it so difficult to produce oil in America? Why is it that not a single refinery has been built for 30 years? Why have you spent away our future so that the dollar is worth far less than it was a few years ago, driving up the price of oil, wheat, and everything else?

Well, I'm not the only one fed up with all this. My trucker friends are getting really ticked, and some are ready to strike. It's not going to help, but it's certainly going to raise awareness of the impact of $4/gallon diesel. But when my trucker buds take action, look out. Without trucking, our groceries will be empty within a couple days - a couple hours with panic buying. You may have no idea how dependent we are on truckers for our food. You're probably going to have a better idea in the near future.

Got food storage? The need is getting more serious every day, in my opinion.

12 comments:

Mike L. said...

What I think is odd is that the same people dragging the oil execs to explain the high prices are also saying we need to get rid of oil in favor of other forms of energy. You'd think they would like high gas prices.

Connor said...

I've been watching the trucker situation in the past couple days, hearing rumors from various sources and substantive reports from others.

I highly agree that we're dependent on truckers. Our infrastructure is very thin and highly interconnected; one removed element will cause a painful, widespread ripple effect.

While I don't wish difficulty on anybody, I sometimes wonder how things would play out if all truckers went on strike tomorrow. If nothing else, it's an interesting thought to entertain and consider, hopefully leading us to act and prepare, in case it (or something like it) does happen.

Gotta love those prophets who have been warning us for years. "Provident living" implies not just getting things we need (which is often fear-based, such as with panic buying), but living a lifestyle of preparedness, simplicity, and frugality.

Ryan said...

A trucker strike absolutely isn't going to happen. There's too many indpendent guys out there desparate for work and they'll keep driving until profits dry up entirely.

What you might see instead of a strike is a mass exodus to other careers as truckers decide their work isn't profitable any longer.

Theoretically the result is the same (no food/supplies) but I think the invisible hand will work it's magic here.

Megaverse said...

It is not the independents that will not shutdown. The company drivers are the one's that will not go on shutdown b/c they are afraid that they will be replaced. But what they dont realize is where would they get enough truck drivers to replace them all in time if we all shutdown. They cannot train enough people in time.

April said...

My brother in law owns a trucking company, and there is no way he or any of his workers would go on strike. They need the money, not to make a statement. I'm not generalizing for every trucker of course, but all the ones I know could care less about going on strike. They are trying to feed their families, and even owning the company is something my brother-in-law does just to make money - not to pioneer a trucking revolution.

But maybe if there were other out there that would? At least warn us first so we can grab a bunch of food first!

Have you seen that Honda commercial yet? A car that emits nothing but pure water? (Steam)?
http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/

SKB said...

Serious question. When I read stuff like this, it makes me think of the verse in the D&C concerning the word of wisdom: 11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.

Does this mean that we should limit our use of these items to only when they are in season? And if we did, maybe we wouldn't be so dependent on sources out of our control?

lirik1980 said...

It's very hot theme in Russia. Not long ago our food became more expensive, and we're know why we need to make product storage

Nathan said...

Jeff, it isn't simply high consumer fuel prices that the oil execs were being grilled about. It was the high consumer prices while the oil companies were simultaneously (a) posting RECORD profits, and (b) claiming they still needed $16 billion in tax breaks. Even without the current price at the pump, the other two concurrent conditions were unconscionable.

Tami said...

The high fuel prices wouldn't be so bad if freight prices would go up. What you do not realize unless you are out here everyday is that we are not making more than we did before in freight prices several years ago, but we are paying more in fuel and everything else. People in cars already try to kill theirself going around us b/c they think most of the company drivers are too slow and they dont want to be behind them. B/C of the fuel prices companies are having to cut their trucks back to 65 mph to get better fuel mileage. That makes us slower. I spend between $750 to $1000 a day to fill my trk up. If we were to shut down why would we announce it ahead of time so that they can fix things for a few days to get us to change our mind..I dont think so. People in cars can think that it would be stupid for a shutdown b/c they wouldnt be able to get the things they need but if you were paying $3.89 to $4.50 a gal for fuel you wouldnt think it was so stupid then. I have paid as high as $4.59 a gal for fuel this year. When you hold 300 gal of fuel and you use 260 gal a day..that starts getting expensive.

SH said...

I think it would be just as well either way. The fuel prices will put the independent guys out of business, strike or not. Though my husband said that when he was OTR a couple of years ago there was constant talk of strike then as well. I'm not sure if people realize this or not but there isn't a strong organization for independent truck drivers.

Teamsters has individual contracts with each of the large companies. None of them will strike because they don't need to, they already have really good contracts with cost-of-living increases and they don't pay for the fuel, the company does. (And the company will raise the cost of shipping or impose fuel surcharges, they are big enough to do that.)

I'm not sure if the independent folks even join the Union. But I haven't heard anything out of Teamsters so far. I have heard the independent drivers are striking sometime in January, the middle of February, March 22, April 1, and April 15th. Most of these dates are already past with nothing happening. But if they do strike that will provide more work for the company drivers. Sure, some loads will be delayed, but they will still get there.

In addition, if the economy continues to contract, the large companies will just pick up the slack, and the consumer won't even notice. (Unless there is a truck directly in their way to work, anyway.) What the strike will do is put the already tight finances of many of the independents right over the edge, into foreclosure. Not something I would wish on anyone.

Now commodity prices are a whole other ball of wax. I'm really worried we won't have a chance to build our food storage prior to the prices becoming truly unaffordable. I'm praying the economy will hold out for at least another year. (Hoping for 5, but praying for 1.) We just need a little bit of time to let our budget work before this whole thing tanks.

Andrew Miller said...

Either way, food storage at this time would be wise. The economy is in a dangerous position, not to mention all of the possibilities for natural disasters.

Anonymous said...

Well, it doesn't matter if these truckers stop delivering food. I can't afford food either anymore.