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CNN Today

Big Rig Protest Rolls into Washington

Aired February 22, 2000 - 2:44 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: Truckers are clogging streets in the nation's capital today to protest soaring diesel prices.

CNN's Kathleen Koch reports on new gridlock in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a rolling protest, three miles long. Truckers in trouble because of high fuel prices from as far away as New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Drivers like Thomas Moore Sr. came to tell Congress they needed relief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are surviving right now. That is what we are hoping to get across.

KOCH: Diesel fuel, once cheaper than regular gasoline, has hit an average $1.46 a gallon, even more in certain areas.

THOMAS MOORE SR., MARYLAND TRUCKER: We have experienced a more than doubling of fuel costs in the past few months, and it's basically made a low-profit margin business a no-profit margin business.

KOCH: Truckers want a temporary suspension of the 24 cent a gallon federal tax on diesel fuel. They would also like to see tolls for truckers halted temporarily, and some of the nation's strategic oil reserve released.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We bring in all their food, their clothing, all their necessary needs by truck.

KOCH: Commodities prices could be on the way up, as truckers levy fuel surcharges to stay in business. Others, though, are giving up and parking their big rigs until diesel fuel prices drop.

(on camera): Some lawmakers joined the 300 truckers, as they rallied on Capitol Hill, while others are promising to sponsor legislation to help. Organizers say that more drivers would have convoyed to Washington, but they couldn't afford the fuel.

Kathleen Koch, for CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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