High cost of fuel impacting Sask. trucking industry, consumers

Mar 09, 2022

The high cost of fuel is not only impacting truckers, but ultimately the cost of living for consumers as well, according to the Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA).

High cost of fuel impacting Sask. trucking industry, consumers

The high cost of fuel is not only impacting truckers, but ultimately the cost of living for consumers as well, according to the Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA).

STA said labour and fuel are the two biggest operational expenses in trucking, with fuel currently being the bigger of the two.

Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy and petroleum analyst, said the price of diesel has been moving up faster than other products in the past week or so.

“For every penny increase in gasoline on the markets there’s been an almost two cent a litre increase,” McTeague told CTV News.

Susan Ewart, executive director of the STA, said as costs keep going up, they are ultimately passed on to the end user impacting both truckers and the consumers.

“It impacts everyone at the end of the day,” Ewart said.

She said this happens because fuel costs are passed along to the shipper, which then causes the end product, such as groceries, to become more costly.

The industry is already facing supply chain challenges with a trucker shortage, which means fewer trucks on the road.

“Trying to move those goods and services that we need and add on the cost of fuel, so definitely, everything continues to increase in cost for us,” Ewart said.

While stores are able to adjust their prices to make up for shipping costs, businesses like Capital Cabs cannot.

Owner Glen Sali said fares are set by the city of Regina and it’s a long process to have new pricing approved and implemented.

“It’s something that doesn’t happen overnight for us, and meanwhile all the drivers, all the operators not just drivers, all the operators, they’re suffering,” Sali said.

He added that with the current situation, money is coming out of the pockets of drivers and operators.

Sali said going through the process to have rates changed is something the business is going to have to do.

He fears drivers will choose to stop working if they aren’t making any money and that gas prices will deter drivers from purchasing the popular large vans.

Those with large vehicles are seeing the highest costs and it is driving motorists to look for solutions.

According to Craig Moleski, an Audi brand specialist at Taylor Audi, full electric vehicles have become more attractive, but some see the hybrid as having a “safety net” when it comes to range and location.

“The idea is simple, we’ve already got power to our houses, a couple of updates, and then with charging stations now at local gas stations and throughout, it makes traveling much more accessible,” Moleski said.

The average cost of gasoline in Regina is currently sitting at around $1.68, with diesel sitting at around $1.82 on Tuesday.

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenny announced an end to the province’s tax on gas to help provide relief to consumers, but currently Saskatchewan is not  considering doing the same.

“That would be a good idea for the government to do here,” said Sali. “That would be a nice thing to help businesses out so we could survive.”

For trucking, Ewart said the STA has talked to the provincial government about the possibility of allowing trucking to use marked diesel in refrigerated-type trailers to help with those cost increases, although the conversation hasn’t gotten very far.

“The farming sector gets to use it, it’s proced a little bit lower, the trucking industry does not, so some of those types of things we’re certainly talking about that internally about how we can go back and have those conversations with our government,” said Ewart.

McTeague said the price of both gasoline and diesel are not only be here to stay, but there’s also a likelihood of them going up even more.

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