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Thread: My thoughts on a Strike and Fuel
- 03.31.2008 #1
- Member Since
- Mar 2008
- Corbin, KY
- Thanked: 6 Times
My thoughts on a Strike and Fuel
No, I'm not a trucker, but I do have a Dodge/Cummins and farm tractor to feed fuel to.
I'll admit, I don't travel coast to coast, but do travel up and down I-75 quite a bit. I live in Corbin, KY and we have 3 truck stops, Pilot, Love, and Marathon. The problem is, all 3 are serving Marathon Fuel. Pilot/Marathon which are the same company are controlling the situation here in a big way and it shows at the pump. London that has a BP and Shell truck stop has Cheaper Fuel by a few cents.
Back when diesel was $3:15/gallon a mere 6 weeks ago (I know that's not funny) we took a trip to Florida and back. When I left Corbin, Diesel was $3:15 at our 3 thieving truck stops. It was $3.09 at the 122 in Tennessee, but by the time we got to Georgia stations were posting a quarter increase. One towl head owned place shut the pump off as I rolled up in order to raise the price 25 cents above the posted price on their sign. By the time we started back, things had settled down a little with Diesel $3.65 at the Pilot/Love/Marathon/and now Petro I believe only exits. On the exits where there was a Flying J or both Pilot and Flying J fuel was $3.35/gal. The long and short is, Pilot was setting the price and still are. Back in Corbin, Pilots other step sister the Speedway along with Pilot itself attempted to raise gasoline to $3.69 the first day back, but the others didn't follow suit and 2 days later they were back to $3.18 for gas and later fell to $3.07 while they raised diesel to $3.95.
Pilot/Marathon is driving this train at least along I-75 where they are buying up the competition at an alarming rate. Why? They own the refinery in Louisiana that supplies most of Colonial Pipeline that supplies the fuel heads at Knoxville, Choo Choo, and Atlanta. I'd be real curious as to how much of Colonial Pipeline Pilot/Marathon owns. The long and short is, they are drilling the oil, refining it, distributing it, and retailing it. They have vertically integrated it to the point that they are making every cent off the oil all the way to the consumer.
My belief is, Pilot/Marathon ought to be prosecuted for price gouging, but we all know that's not going to happen. The reason is, there are too many company trucks on the road to handle the load, and those companies are making money on the fuel prices. If fuel is costing them an extra dollar, they are charging $1.25 in fuel surcharge for it. No, the driver isn't getting it, but the company is, and between them and Pilot, they could care less what fuel cost.
Who it's hurting is the independents, locals, construction, farmers, and everyone else that depends on diesel equipment and diesel trucks not to mention the products they deliver like Fertilizer that's not affordable this year.
My grandpa drove a coal truck for over 50 years (He hauled his last load at age 79). I can remember the strikes in the 70's and a lot of the things that happened. Grandpa had contracts to supply stoker coal to several school systems, as well as ash billets to Louisville Slugger, and financially couldn't afford to shut down without risking loosing lucrative contracts he'd had for decades. I can remember him loosing windshields to rocks, bricks, and even lead. Someone even stole his steer tires off the loaded truck (F700 Tandem with 20 tons of coal on it) overnight in his driveway during one strike. I can remember the discussions over the strikes. The problem was he was well satisfied with the situation he had and striking would have created a lot of problems with his contracts. By the time he retired, schools were switching from coal to natural gas boilers and the lumber hauling was pretty much just something to do between seasons on coal.
I honestly don't think a strike will be that effective for the simple reason that as a percentage, the number of strikers will be small and the companies that have been putting independents out since Grandpa's day will just grow larger and more formidable. The single benefit a strike will have will be publicity to the problem of high fuel prices.
I hope the strike is successful for everyone's benefit. I do think a much more productive thing would be to boycott companies like Pilot/Marathon although it likely wouldn't take them long to buy out someone else, it would get a message across in a hurry if Pilot's fuel sales dropped by 85% from April 1st through say, November 1st. The fact is, I'd say a couple months would put a hurt on them. There's a lot of borrowed money and expense operating these huge truck stops they are building, to not be making money off of them for months on end would make a lot of difference in their attitude, that, I'm sure of.