Owner operators in Mississippi say that the cost of diesel may soon price them out of the industry, forcing them to seek company driver jobs.
In just the last month, the average cost of a gallon of diesel has risen by $1.50 – a number that owner operators say is destroying their profit margins. According to WLBT 3 News, the average price of diesel in Mississippi was $4.91 per gallon as of Sunday, March 20th. In California, the average is closer to $6 per gallon.
“Yes, it’s getting hard. It’s getting hard out here for truckers,” said trucker Leonard Lawson said.
“It went from filling my truck up, around $600 to around $900.”
“I used to pay like $1,600 a week, but now it is like $2,000 or more. It depends where you go, you know. To go like the West, it’s like $6 a gallon and more,” said Mindaugas Ringys, an owner operator.
Current owner operators say paying for diesel out of their own pockets is making it hard to make as much money as they used to, and that switching over to a company driver position may be the way to go until diesel prices go back down.
“I’ve seen a couple people saying on Facebook like they are going to park their trucks and go work for a company because $900 every other day is ridiculous,” Lawson said.
Trucker Jimmy Stanford, who was in the process of hauling a load from Las Vegas to Orlando at the time of the interview, says that this load typically would have made him $7,000, but because of diesel prices, he’ll bring home closer to $4,500 if everything goes according to plan.
“Usually you’d try to run hard and have a particular size check, but by the time the fuel prices go up, it should be about $4,500,″ Stanford explained.
“Guys who drive for companies and stuff like that, because they don’t have to pay for fuel and they will cover fuel. But somebody like me being an owner-operator,” Stanford continued. “I gotta be careful. I just need enough fuel to try to get to where I’m going.”