“The American Trucking Associations congratulates the Bush administration for its leadership in tackling a thorny national issue and taking significant, substantive steps to begin the debate that will lead to steps ensuring a sufficient and reliable long-term supply of energy to fuel this country's continued economic growth,” said Walter B McCormick Jr, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). ATA has long supported the basic tenets of the President's plan: adequate energy supplies, a modern energy infrastructure, conservation, environmental responsibility, energy security, and economic incentives to help accomplish these goals. “It is no coincidence sky-high fuel prices and an inordinate number of trucking company bankruptcies are occurring simultaneously, McCormick said. “Trucking is a highly competitive industry in which most companies survive on profit margins of between 1 and 3 percent. These slim margins leave many companies unable to absorb the sustained, high fuel prices that the United States has endured in the past year. “The goals of the administration's energy policy will be frustrated, however, unless we stop the patchwork of boutique fuels that has begun cropping up across the nation. It is the firm position of the trucking industry that a 50-state grab-bag of fuel formulas would paralyze interstate commerce-threatening supplies by decreasing the efficiency with which already overwhelmed refineries produce and distribute fuel, further increasing energy costs, and possibly harming today's cleaner, state-of-the-art truck engines. Adding these complications on top of high fuel prices would ruin many good trucking companies. For this reason, ATA continues to pursue a national standard for diesel fuel. ATA also strongly believes that while it is wise to explore the potential of alternative fuels, it is inappropriate for government to mandate their use. “The trucking industry favors any reasonable measure that will help ensure a reliable, affordable fuel supply that will in turn enable our industry to continue delivering a strong, growing US economy. If President Bush's plan is supplemented with additional near-term measures, it will put our country on the right track toward greater long-term energy and economic security."