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View Diary: Ideas just don't get any stupider than this (15 comments)

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  •  It's Not Just Gasoline (2+ / 0-)
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    Gravedugger, SciVo

    Diesel is taxed at .244/gallon. I just got back from a round that started here in West Tennessee, went to Tualatin, Oregon, then down below Salem to get a load of grass seed, took those to Louisville, Ky, then back home. About 5200 miles in 9 days, I bought just over 900 gallons of fuel, paid right at $220 Federal Excise Tax on it. The little company I drive for has about 30 trucks, pays $25k+ a month.

    There are about 500,000 owner/operators in this Country, about as "blue-collar" as it gets, and fuel prices are starving them and the little companies right out of business, which will leave all truck freight in the hands of a few big corporations.

    How has that worked out in the rest of the economy??

    We have no intention of prosecuting Rush Limbaugh because lying through your teeth and being stupid isn't a crime.

    by The Baculum King on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 06:12:34 PM PDT

    •  The 900 gallons might be taxed at .244 (0+ / 0-)

      but the price is well over 4.00. The "holiday" psychology will stimulate demand.  People will think they're getting a "deal", even though prices don't actually decrease. Oil companies will pass on any "windfall" tax, and the cost out of your pocket will certainly go up if this passes, it won't go down.

      "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

      by orrg1 on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 06:21:00 PM PDT

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      •  The Same Freight Will Be Moved (0+ / 0-)

        The only difference is who moves it.

        We have no intention of prosecuting Rush Limbaugh because lying through your teeth and being stupid isn't a crime.

        by The Baculum King on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 06:24:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This tax break will not help (0+ / 0-)

          protect "the little guy"  It will be swallowed up by two weeks of increase in the rise of fuel prices at the rate they're rising now. The increase in demand will squeeze the small trucking companies even more.

          "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

          by orrg1 on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 06:42:22 PM PDT

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        •  I hate to break it to the O/O (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mrfleas

          The Baculum King is in a tough situation. More and more freight is going to shift to intermodal, particularly stacktrains and other train-based intermodal. I have a feeling that many truckers will end up in two rolls over the next 20 years:

          A)Long haul trucking will be used for high-value, fast delivery goods.

          B)Truck drivers will be doing mostly local delivery.

          The mode change won't just be from O/O to corporate, it will be from truck to train, and from train to barge for bulk goods. Trains will probably take over a lot of freight movement. O/Os are still vital to the economy though. Not having as many owner operators will suck, especially for small businesses who can't negotiate bulk movement contracts. Hopefully rates will re-adjust across the board soon, so the O/Os don't get swallowed by corporations.

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          by Gravedugger on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 07:27:00 PM PDT

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          •  You Seeing a Lot of Track Laying?? (0+ / 0-)

            Not happening, trains are too slow and inflexible.

            The load of aluminum I took to Oregon was assembled on Friday in Tennessee and delivered on Tuesday. By train it would have taken a couple weeks and been handled and rehandled several times.

            There's roadway available for a direct trip from any business in the Continental U.S. to any other such business, and that will never be true of rail.

            Only transport by truck allows the just-in-time production that IS the modern U.S. economy.

            And twenty years ago they were saying the same thing you are.

            We have no intention of prosecuting Rush Limbaugh because lying through your teeth and being stupid isn't a crime.

            by The Baculum King on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 07:55:48 PM PDT

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            •  Different dynamic (0+ / 0-)

              Just-In-Time is a major factor, and as I said, I hope the indie truckers survive, because they play such an important roll. However, for loads that can move slowly, I think trains will be used more.

              First, fuel prices are at near record (inflation-adjusted) highs, and unlikely to decline.

              Second, I do see a lot of track-laying.

              CSX is quad-tracking their eastern-seaboard route. NS just recut tunnels from Norfolk to Ohio, and will be moving intermodal at 60 mph the whole way. UP/BNSF just quad-tracked a major pass in Southern California. Even the runt of the Class I litter, KCS, is significantly upping capacity on its lines. Even more significantly, current trackage is being improved, since faster trains mean more runs, and more capacity.

              Rail can only provide point-to-point for a very few number of companies. What we are already starting to see is the Class III regionals re-opening industrial stubs, spurs and abandoned mainline. More businesses have easy access to rail these days. A shift is starting, and the dynamic is not like the 1980s.

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              by Gravedugger on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 09:05:07 PM PDT

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              •  Maybe You're Right, But I'm Skeptical (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Gravedugger

                A significant shift to rail would require a resizing of everything from warehousing (which is an endangered concept) to production facilities, since everything is scaled to 45,000 pound/3200 cube chunks coming in one end and going out the other. Lots of places I deliver to have direct rail access and still get raw material and semi-finished by truck, because of the lag time between need and delivery.

                On the other hand your vision would create quite a few jobs to accomplish all the extra handling that would be built in to getting 20 pallets of grass seed from Oregon to a store in Louisville. The load I hauled Thursday-Monday directly involved 3 people, the guy who loaded me, me and the guy who unloaded me. Moving the same load your way would involve the loader, a shuttle driver, the folks who make up the train, the crew, the folks who switch cars between Oregon and Kentucky (how many connections would that be?), the folks who get the piggyback off the train, another shuttle driver and the unloader. And take two weeks or more.

                We have no intention of prosecuting Rush Limbaugh because lying through your teeth and being stupid isn't a crime.

                by The Baculum King on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 10:00:27 PM PDT

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                •  Interchange costs (0+ / 0-)

                  You are right, long-haul trucking will remain, in large part due to the simplicity of transport. However, keep in mind that a huge amount of cargo movies in stacktrains. A 53' 45,000 pound box is stacked two high on a train with 90 others. It starts on a truck as a standard highway load, and remains that way until delivered. Retooling warehouses isn't necessary, unless they want to ship via boxcar. The same 53' box on a rail car can go on your trailer chassis.

                  In terms of cost, it costs about $150 to switch modes, say from highway to train, or container ship to truck. Once a given (local delivery->rail->local delivery) route costs $300 less than a long-haul truck delivery, rail is competitive for some loads. I don't have cost per ton-mile figures on me, but I'm sure someone is tracking it. The Staggers act also completely changed the economics when comparing this fuel price peak with the last couple. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out in the future.

                  Good luck, and I hope the profitable loads keep coming. Truckers will always be a vital part of this country in some form or another.

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                  by Gravedugger on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 08:24:15 PM PDT

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