‘Trying to do the best job I can’: Diesel prices take toll on trucking companies

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.– It’s been hard enough to find truck drivers recently, and adding the rise in diesel prices is making business even more difficult to navigate.

The owner of Mercer Trucking, Steve Hanning, said he’s keeping an eye on gas prices as they soar.

“Fuel and tires are the only two things that you can’t control in the trucking industry as far as your expenses,” Hanning said.

Before the price hike, he said he would pay about $23,000 to fill up his diesel reserve tank. The next tank will cost $47,500.

That doesn’t include what drivers will pay while they’re on the road.

“The whole thing about getting any kind of product to the consumer is transportation,” Hanning said.

He said he had to bump his prices to stay afloat.

Right now, Hanning has 15 trucks that travel across the west coast delivering things like steel, iron, and other building material. He said he could use even more drivers despite the cost of diesel.

“One of my biggest concerns is if I’m not in business there’s a lot of drivers that aren’t in business that don’t have jobs,” Hanning said.

Hanning said the last time he hired someone was about a year ago. He has two new trucks that aren’t being used because he can’t find drivers.

He is no stranger to hard times like this. During the Great Recession, he had to sell 25 trucks to pay the bill. He’s happy he made it through and will keep pushing through this rough time.

“I’m trying to do the best job I can with what I have to work with,” Hanning said.

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