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CNN Today

Truckers Converge on Washington, Seek Remedy for High Fuel Costs

Aired March 16, 2000 - 2:02 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: The last time the truckers converged on Washington, it was to protest diesel costs of $1.50 a gallon. That was less than a month ago. Today, diesel is running at more than $2 a gallon, and the truckers are back in convoys demanding that the government do something.

From Washington, CNN's Kathleen Koch has the latest on the truckers' predicament and their protest -- Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, as you pointed out, consumers may wince when they fill up their tanks, but it is nothing compared to the pain truckers are feeling. Diesel fuel prices have more than doubled over last year so 169 18-wheelers rolled into town today to drive home a point, that fuel costs must come down before they go belly up.

Now, President Clinton did address the issue of fuel costs today, and he says that his administration is doing what it can about high fuel prices frustrating not just truckers, but consumers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm encouraged by a lot of the developments that are going on. I hope there will be some relief soon when the OPEC meeting occurs, but I do believe we need to do more here on our own here in America to deal with some of the things we've learned, some of the pressure points we've learned are on our people in these last few months.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOCH: Some Republicans in Congress want the Clinton administration to get tougher with OPEC, the oil-producing cartel. And to that end, a bill could come up for a vote in the House as soon as next week that would cut off all U.S. aid and arms sales to any country that is accused of and found to be fixing oil prices.

Truckers, meanwhile, are making the point that this could soon become a road safety issue. They say that costs are so tight -- that truckers' budgets are so tight right now that they can no longer afford to do very important safety maintenance, such as replacing tires, fixing brakes, and that their trucks could, if this continues, become un-roadworthy. Reporting live in Washington, I'm Kathleen Koch.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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