Despite falling diesel prices, truckers still feeling financial pinch

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -  Pulling up to the pumps used to be a painful experience for most truck drivers. But not so much any more.

"It's helping a lot. A whole lot. It's coming down," said Darcy Blades, a truck driver from Louisiana.

"It's a relief. It's just that the oil companies are making all the money," said Jack Dowling, a Florida trucker.

It used to cost Dowling nearly $600.00 to top off both tanks on his truck. Now, he pays half that amount.

"More profit I guess. Trying to make ends meet," said Dowling. "Probably if my truck and trailer wasn't paid for, I'd be out of business too."

According to AAA, diesel now averages $2.47 a gallon in Mississippi. Some truckers say they're surprised to see the falling prices.

"Not this fast. Not this sudden," said Blades. "I'm glad it did, but it's hurt us bad."

The truckers remember well the sticker shock when diesel used to cost close to $5.00 a gallon. Now that prices have come down, many drivers are dealing with another problem.

"We're not getting enough loads right now," said Ellen Taylor, a trucker from Texas. "Usually this time at Christmas, we've got so much loads we can't keep up with them. This year, they're cutting back. They're canceling loads right and left, so it's really hard for us."

"We get maybe one load out a week, and one load back. Short loads. We don't have no long loads to haul," said Blades.

Truckers say they could really use a break, if only the economy would pick-up steam and diesel prices continue to drop.

"Just trying to recover basically, and just trying to keep our heads above water," said Taylor.

The Flying J Travel Plaza in Gulfport sold diesel at a lower price than the state average -- $2.35 per gallon. If you spot low gas or diesel prices around South Mississippi, just let us know.