Snowe supports billsto ease fuel prices

May 2, 2008
Senator Olympia J Snowe (R-Maine) recently introduced legislation to lower the federal diesel tax

Senator Olympia J Snowe (R-Maine) recently introduced legislation to lower the federal diesel tax and another bill that would provide a clear line-item defining the fuel surcharge in a contract with small business carriers, according to information on the senator's Web site.

The diesel tax would be reduced from 24.3 cents a gallon to the same price as gasoline, 18.3 cents a gallon. The fuel surcharge proposal would guarantee that the entity in the transaction--whether a shipper, broker, or driver--that absorbs the consistently rising cost of fuel at the pump would become the recipient of the fuel surcharge.

"Our trucking industry and small businesses are in a crisis and drastic steps need to be undertaken by Congress," Snowe said in the news release. "All of Washington has heard today that the situation for our nation’s trucking industry is simply untenable and we need immediate action to lower the price of fuel for those who are impacted by these historic costs."

Snowe partnered with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to introduce the Trust in Reliable Understanding of Consumer Costs (TRUCC) Act that would provide the surcharge.

"Without the ability to recoup higher fuel costs, tens of thousands of small business truckers are finding it economically impossible to continue their business operations," Snowe said. "The national rate of trucking businesses that have failed in the first quarter of 2008 numbers nearly 1,000. The corresponding loss in freight hauling capacity has already caused American manufacturers, retailers, and farmers to struggle to find enough trucks or affordable rates to transport their products."

The senator's information pointed out that small business motor carriers comprise more than 90 percent of the trucking industry. On average, fuel purchases amount to more than 40 percent of their operating expenses. The smaller operators have little ability to raise their freight hauling rates when the price of fuel jumps, and with retail prices for diesel fuel currently average more than $4 per gallon nationwide, the companies are facing an unprecedented economic challenge that could sorely impact the ability of America to move a growing amount of freight across the country.