The relationship between the economy and the trucking industry is closely intertwined. According to Reuters, “Trucking accounts for 70 percent of U.S. shipment tonnage, and is key to supplying the manufacturing, construction and retail sectors, all of which showed sluggishness in the first quarter. The most common factors for the decline include the U.S.-China trade war and weakness in the Farm Belt.” When the orders slow down, so do the miles driven by truck drivers across the United States, and that means less fuel being consumed and lower paychecks for drivers. However, the American Trucking Associations tonnage index is still at a healthy level at 117.4 compared to 2008-2012 during the Recession when levels were well below 90.
Portugal has declared a nationwide energy crisis this week after all of their fuel truck drivers have gone on strike, threatening to cripple the infrastructure of the nation. The organization representing the interest of 700 of the 1,000 working in the sector, The National Union of Dangerous Goods Drivers, is demanding higher wages and recognition of its members’ special status.
New big rig player, Nikola Motors, is looking to add their mark in the transportation industry. Nikola is a startup operation based in Arizona that is “all in” on Hydrogen powered semi-trucks. While the theory of Hydrogen powered transportation has proven to be enticing, the actuality has eluded engineers over the past 50 years. The largest hold back in the eyes of Nikola Motor, is that the tank sizes necessary for passenger vehicle operation has proven to be bulky and inefficient. Nikola Motors is thinking around the scenario. If you can’t condense the storage, increase the vehicle size.
Did you know that April is National Distracted Driver Awareness month? Every day at least nine Americans die and 100 are injured in crashes caused by distracted driving. Many things are to blame; cell phones, touch screens, the environment and technology all pose a threat to our safety while on the road. Distracted Driver Awareness month is in an effort to recognize all the dangers our truckers face on a day-to-day basis.
On April 3 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill which will increase the gasoline and diesel fuel taxes for the state. Starting on July 1st the state tax on diesel fuel will increase by 19 cents to a total of 47 cents per gallon. The 67% increase will bump Ohio to the 6th highest diesel fuel tax rate behind only California, Pennsylvania, Washington, Indiana, and New Jersey. The tax on gasoline will be increased by 10.5 cents per gallon to a total of 38.5 cents per gallon. Ohio’s gasoline tax will remain lower than Pennsylvania and Indiana, but will be higher than its neighboring states, Kentucky, West Virginia and Michigan.