Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

National Headquarters:  1 NW OOIDA Drive, Grain Valley, MO  64029
Tel:  (816) 229-5791  Fax:  (816) 427-4468

Washington Office:   122 C Street NW, Washington, DC  20001
Tel:  (202) 347-2007  Fax:  (202) 347-2008

January 30, 2008

President George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20500


Dear President Bush,

On behalf of America’s small business trucking professionals, I am writing to ask that you do all that you can to stabilize the cost of diesel fuel in our country.  Along with the more than 160,000 members of OOIDA, small business truckers across the nation are suffering greatly from the erratic and escalating price of fuel.  While I fully recognize that this is an extraordinarily difficult and complex problem to address, I believe that there are some measures within your Administration’s power that may be taken to alleviate tight domestic fuel markets and ultimately help to rein in fuel prices.

As you may know, small business truckers (operating 6 or fewer trucks) comprise close to 90 percent of the trucking industry.  Considering that trucks account for the movement of 69 percent of all goods transported in the U.S. and are the only providers of goods to 75 percent of American communities, small business truckers are quite literally the backbone of our nation's economy.  The cost of fuel is the single greatest operating expense with which small business truckers must contend.  Volatile and often high fuel prices have devastated these businesses over the last several years.  Thousands of trucking companies have not been able to survive.  The corresponding loss of businesses has had an enormous impact on the freight hauling capacity of the trucking industry and its ability to address the needs of America’s manufacturers, shippers, and retailers.

Each time the price of fuel increases by 5 cents per gallon, a trucker’s annual costs increase by roughly $1,000.  In just the past six months, the average price of diesel has climbed by more than 40 cents per gallon.  This is an enormous burden on the small business trucker whose average annual income is $37,000 to $40,000.  With strong demand, tight supplies and the rising cost of crude oil, the Department of Energy predicts that diesel prices will continue to rise well beyond former record highs.  The urgency for action to help truckers survive grows with every additional cent they must pay at the fuel pump.  The line between profit and loss for small truckers is getting thinner every day.

With consideration to the current prices of fuel, we ask that your Administration immediately cease the diversion of oil supplies to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and instead allow that product to directly enter the marketplace. While most small business truckers understand the premise behind the SPR, it is very difficult for them to understand the Administration’s insistence on continuing to ship oil to the SPR at a time when all Americans are suffering from high fuel costs.  Shipping oil to the SPR at this time only serves to exacerbate the already tight domestic fuel market. As was appropriately stated by several members of Congress in a recent letter to you, “Filling the SPR, without regard to crude oil prices and the availability of supplies, drives oil prices higher and ultimately hurts consumers.”

We also implore you to make use of your Administration’s authority and influence to ensure that American fuel producers and refiners cease their exports of diesel and biodiesel products to other nations.  As you well know, with the intent to encourage and support the production and refinement of fuel for the domestic marketplace, those entities receive an extraordinary amount of taxpayer dollars in the form of grants, tax credits and other financial incentives. There is no justifiable reason those companies should accept American taxpayer incentives and then export their products. Actions such as that are nothing short of fraud. Every drop of fuel that has been subsidized by American taxpayers should be available only to American consumers.

The majority of OOIDA members have supported your efforts to encourage domestic production, including opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the outer continental shelf to drilling.  Our members believe however, that the federal government should not be providing financial incentives to multi-billion dollar companies during a time when market factors provide more than sufficient encouragement for those entities to invest in expanding their domestic production and refinery efforts.  

Mr. President, the hard-working truckers that drive the commerce of this country and make our nation competitive in the world marketplace need your support now more than ever.




Jim Johnston

1 NW OOIDA Drive • PO Box 1000 • Grain Valley, Missouri 64029 • Tel: (816) 229-5791 • Fax: (816) 427-4468