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Here's how gas prices are impacting Michigan's trucking industry

Zetong Li

If you dread filling up your gas tank due to high prices, imagine semi-truck drivers. Those trucks take sometimes as much as 300 gallons per fill. An average fill can easily top one-thousand dollars.

Today, the average price for a gallon of diesel is $4.72 a gallon. Not surprisingly, the trucking industry is looking for new ways to cut costs.

As gas prices climb at record speed, the price of freight has not adjusted. Costs that are falling on drivers and will eventually increase the price of goods.

Kurt Stocker, with the Road Warrior Truck Driving School in Gaylord, said drivers are trying to manage their driving habits in new ways.

“Used to be that was pretty common practice to leave a truck idle overnight and sometimes days at a time," said Stocker. "You very rarely hear that anymore”

Drivers are also no longer “dead heading,” which means driving without a load.

“If you're transporting from one place to another with no load on," said Stocker, "you're not getting paid. So, guys are trying to figure out a way to be more efficient than we ever have in the past.”

The rise in fuel costs come amid a shortage of trucker drivers across the state and new federal regulations for licensing new drivers.

According to Stocker, some trucking schools are struggling to implement these new laws and regulations and are raising the cost of tuition for new trucking students. The Road Warrior Truck Driving School is not raising tuition at this time.

However, Stocker says enrollment in his trucking school has gone up in recent months as companies entice new drivers with better pay and 401-K options.

“And a lot of that has to do with the pay scale of drivers," said Stocker. "It's becoming a much more appealing thing to be a truck driver. And I've noticed a big change in our demographic, attracting a lot more female students than we've ever seen before."

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