Truckers Roll Into Washington, D.C. to Protest High Cost of FuelAired February 22, 2000 - 1:21 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Despite their high prices, fuel- efficient cars may look just a little more attractive to many Americans these days. We all know gasoline prices are way up, and truckers say the increases for diesel fuel have been even worse, and they staged a protest today.
CNN's Kathleen Koch is in Washington where it took place -- Kathleen.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, it is wall-to-wall big rigs here in the nation's capital. The 300 truckers, some of them from as far away as New Jersey, joined a three-mile long convoy that headed into the nation's capital late this morning. The rolling protest comes because diesel fuel prices have hit an average $1.46 a gallon. That's up 54 percent over last year. The fuel is a major out-of-pocket expense for truckers. And many independent operators say that they can no longer afford to haul loads, so they're asking Congress for some immediate relief.
First, truckers would like to see a temporary suspension of the 24 cent a gallon federal excise tax on diesel fuel prices. They'd also like to see tolls for truckers halted temporarily, and some of the nation's strategic oil reserve released.
Now, some drivers are trying to keep on trucking by levying a fuel surcharge on the loads that they are hauling, but, of course, those higher costs get passed on to consumers and they're tacked onto the cost of goods. So there's a lot of concern that costs of commodities across the board could head higher the longer that this fuel crunch continues.
There is, though, some speculation that the nation -- the world's top oil producers could raise production at their meeting next month. But, still, we're hearing that it would be several months before we would see lower prices at the pump for consumers or truckers.
Reporting live in Washington, I'm Kathleen Koch.
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