A Day in the Life of a Fuel Hauler

Discussion in 'Tanker, Bulk and Dump Trucking Forum' started by GasHauler, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. GasHauler

    GasHauler Master FMCSA Interpreter

    6,255
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    Oct 23, 2005
    Vegas/Jersey
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    Ok that sounds good, here goes,

    I start my day around 4 am but the shift does not really start until 6am. We ran 12 hour shifts from 6 to 6. But if the driver only takes 10 hours you have time to start early. I'd walk into the office and get my bag of goodies from my locker. I carried tools, extra gaskets, light bulbs, gloves, and any other item I might need during the day. I'd then go over mail box to get my dispatch sheet, I'll make a copy of it because I'll be writing all over it all day long. We do not have a set route or the same stations everyday. We go to the stations that need the load. Sometimes you'll have 5 loads and then sometimes you'll have 6. Every load is timed down to the minute and they are fair. It's up to us which stations we would want to go to first and so on. They will be marked before noon, needs now, or any other note to help the load fit. Very rare will you go to a station that's marked afternoon before noon. And if you do and you have to retain some of the load it's your butt.

    As I leave the office I'm doing my pre-trip as I approach my truck. We do the same inspection after the shift as when we start. Even if it's daylight I have my flashlight out and looking in the dark places. When I'm done I check the inspection booklet and see if the driver from the night shift had any problems and if so they are signed off. I also make sure there's no retain left to me on the truck, but we are good at leaving notes to the next driver. (For those who don't know a retain is any amount of gasoline the driver could not deliver that's left on the truck). Now I decide where I'm going first and so on. I'll also write on my dispatch how I'm going to load the truck to match the station. Most of our loads are like this 1650 gallons midgrade, 1550 gallons of premium, and 9250 of regular. Our trucks are set up like this, on the truck it's 3200 first compartment then either 1550 or 1650 on the rear compartment. The trailer is 3250, 1550 or 1650, then 2800. You can not load 1650 on the truck then load 1650 on the trailer, one compartment has to be 1550. You know from memory how each station is laid out so you load where the product is close to the fills. It only takes about 20 minutes to do all that.

    Then I'd head over to the loading rack. If I was lucky there will be a lane empty, but if not I'd have to wait. We have 4 lanes dedicated just to us but we had to share loading arms. The original plans were set up to load the truck and trailer at the same time but that never worked out. So you either pull the truck up to load the truck or pull further to load the trailer if you had to share and what you needed was free to load and had to go on the trailer then back up to load the truck. Once I got out I'd take the caps off the fills and turn the product tag to the right product. This was very critical. You could load two products at the same time so for the 5 compartments it took 20 minutes at the most to load your truck. After you're loaded you get your BOL and off to the station. You'll be back doing this either 4 more time or 5. There's other tricks you look out for like the traffic and if the station is close so you'll beat back the other trucks to load.

    We had the best equipment along with the best trucks. We moved more gasoline than any other company there so we did have some advantage. But when that rack went down we couldn't load just like anyone else except we got paid by the hour and the mileage boys would be upset.

    At the station after you slowly made your way over to the fills you would shut the down off and get out to set your perimeter. I had every make of underground tank gauge in my clipboard and I had to know what type of tank was in the ground. I know it's easier today because you can go into the store and get the read out but I could drop faster without it. About two to three minutes after I stopped I'd have product flowing. I would check the tank tags and the compartment to make sure the right product is going in the tank. We had sight glasses on the compartment with lights so I'd watch the lights then check the sight glass. When the tank was empty I'd unhook the hose from the truck and roll the hose to drain it. There's also a specific order to hook and unhook your hoses but it all boils down to keeping your tank either vapor rich or product rich. That will cut down on some hazard. Gasoline tankers are not bombs going down the road and when people say that they only show they do not know the workings of a gasoline tanker. You have to introduce air to the mixture for it to burn. There will be no fire in the tank unless you rip open the tank and let air in. Safety was always number one with my company and the bosses listened to the drivers. After you work in the same city for a couple of years you know every ins and outs of that city along with the stations. If you had any questions you could always ask the driver next to you loading that had 20 plus safe driving years.

    Every day was the same on how you load and where you'd be going. But what I found fun was talking with the people and just watching them sometimes. We had a couple of stations where the fills were next to the pumps and I would have to get the truck right next to the pumps to unload. All the stations were self serve so I'd always find it funny when the people would take a double look at that massive truck right next to them. It was a fun job and the best I've ever had. However, the retirement is better.
     
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  3. rhughegg

    rhughegg Bobtail Member

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    Dec 24, 2010
    East Central, IL
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    I've been driving for 11 years now and have tried most paths other than f-uel. I did liquid asphalt for awhile but it didn't pay veg well in my area. I was offered a position at a fuel company here recently but have yet to discuss wages. I was curious as to what a good offer would be for hauling fuel since I have no clue and don't want the shaft.
     
  4. GasHauler

    GasHauler Master FMCSA Interpreter

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    Oct 23, 2005
    Vegas/Jersey
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    In my experience there's three types of fuel haulers. The common carrier the will haul anybody's product, dedicated haulers that pull for only one company, and the majors that drill-refine-haul-and sell their own product. Those companies are listed in order of pay. The common carrier is the lowest and should be anywhere from $17 to $20. The dedicated carrier is anywhere from $20 to $22, and the major is anywhere from $25 to $30. Of course those are all in hour pay and can differ depending on your area. The lower the pay most likely the lower the cost of living is.

    Sometimes it's tricky to tell what company is hauling whose fuel. Just look on the cab doors and that will tell you what company it is. Don't let anyone tell you all the gasoline is the same. The additive is what brands the gasoline. However, with today's special blends gasoline is almost the same for the area but the company's do mess with it just enough so they can call it there's. Every station that sells gasoline under a company name is selling their product. When the truck loads at the tank farm the gasoline is injected with that company's registered additive at the rack.

    Pay matters but pay and benefits matters the most. Be sure to check out the benefits especially the medical and dental. I'd say $17 an hour to start with an 80-20 med&den. would be fair.
     
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  5. Johnny99

    Johnny99 Johnny be Good

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    Nov 24, 2007
    Big Sandy Tenn
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    I don't know if any of these guys are still around but back in the mid 80's I was looking to get back in to fuel hauling. They had a pay system that was based on circles on a map. The farther you got away from the middle of the circle you were in the more it paid. I tried it for a month and averaged about $10/hr. It was a common carrier based out of Cincinnati with terminals all over Ohio and was really a rip off.
     
  6. rhughegg

    rhughegg Bobtail Member

    39
    15
    Dec 24, 2010
    East Central, IL
    0
    Thanks for the help. Ill see what they offer and go from there.
     
  7. GasHauler

    GasHauler Master FMCSA Interpreter

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    Oct 23, 2005
    Vegas/Jersey
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    Like I said common carriers are the lowest. However, if you're new to driving a common carrier is about the only gasoline tanker outfit that will give you a shot. The funny thing about hauling gasoline everyone knows everyone if it's a single loading facility. A lot of times you'll know when a driver is going to quit before his or her company does. So in this case it's who you know so you'll know ahead of time where to apply.

    I've never heard or seen a pay scale like the one you show. I would think it's a typical ripoff like so many try. The best pay is by the hour. The type I talk about is the pay starts when you come through the gate and then leave. Down time is all paid and there's no nickel and dime timing you to death. The other I've seen is by the mile and that wasn't too bad since the drivers did get some miles on each of their loads if they went long. I heard of a percentage but didn't know anyone on it. Just about all of the majors paid by the mile. I guess that's why the are getting rid of their fleet and going dedicated carriers.

    The little terminals are being phased out and with us it's because all the people that remember Oregon are now gone. What happened there was the contracts were signed and the company pulled all their trucks and equipment out and things ran good for the first two years. Then it came for contract time and the other company knew that the original company could not afford to bring their trucks and such back without high cost. So the contract went up four fold and the company said no more UNTIL now. So you never know what's going to happen.

    Chevron sold off their entire fleet. It shows a fast gain but it will, just like always, show a loss in the long run. There's many reasons for a company truck from resale of the equipment to advertisement. There's less spills and incidents when you have the authority for discipline. Don't get me wrong here there's plenty of great drivers out there hauling for dedicated carriers but in my opinion they should be in uniform for a major putting those many years of safe driving and getting paid very well for that achievement. It's not their fault or even the company they work for. It the big boys trying to squeeze every dime they can. And what the really bad part is it all comes from book smart people that wouldn't know a compartment from a hole in the ground.♠
     
  8. pathfinder1361

    pathfinder1361 Light Load Member

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    Aug 19, 2011
    miami, fl
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    that sounds just like the fuel haulers down here in south florida. i was driving for one of them here two years ago. instead of $10/hr, guys were averaging $12-$15/hr. i hung in there for a year and a half, but eventually quit due to low pay/benefits.
     
  9. pathfinder1361

    pathfinder1361 Light Load Member

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    Aug 19, 2011
    miami, fl
    0
    during the year and a half i was hauling fuel down here in port everglades (south florida) 2009-10, i witness both BP and chevron
    get rid of their company fleets. from talking with a few of those guys,
    there was HUGE pay/benefits difference between "company" fleet and
    in particular a "florida" based for hire fuel transporter. i believe in total,
    i was working for HALF of what the BP driver made.
     
  10. Corkyf62

    Corkyf62 Light Load Member

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    Sep 4, 2010
    Minnesota
    0
    Its pretty common in the oil hauling business, its called "zone pay".:biggrin_25519:
     
  11. GasHauler

    GasHauler Master FMCSA Interpreter

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    Oct 23, 2005
    Vegas/Jersey
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    I can't say. I never hauled unrefined product. But to me it still sounds like hourly pay comes in first all the time. I don't care if that truck is moving or not I'm still responsible for all of it and I don't work for free.
     
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