Truck haulers in Stark County are bracing themselves for the 19-cent-a-gallon boost in the cost of diesel fuel. As it stands the price of gas can toggle back and forth between 20 to 50 cents a gallon during the course of a week. This begs the question whether anybody will notice today when the gas take increase of 10.5 cents will jump.
The diesel fuel tax bump of 19 cents will definitely affect the balance sheet of a lot of local businesses. Already a number of them are flinching at the 68 percent increase.
For instance Green Lines Transportation, a company out of Malvern, with more than 100 tractor-trailer trucks, projects its diesel fuel costs will inflate by around $50,000 due to the tax increase.
Roger Bettis, Green Lines President, already figured the company would have to pass at least a portion of the jump onto its customers by way of a higher fuel surcharge. In fact, he pointed out that fuel is the company’s biggest non-employee expense.
“I have to somehow accept it, deal with it,” he said. “The fuel surcharge will help offset it… But the consumer’s going to end up paying more for the shipping cost.”
He’s grateful, however, that the affect of the increase is limited due to the fact that Green Line’s fleet operate in several other states. Here’s how it works. With Ohio being part of an interstate compact, trucking companies are only mandated to pay Ohio fuel taxes contingent on the number of miles driven in Ohio, not on the overall amount of fuel they purchase in Ohio.
The president of the company said he planned to purchase more fuel-efficient trucks that would bump the fuel mileage up from six miles to closer to seven or eight. This would go a long way toward limiting the damage of the tax increase.
Pat Gardner, safety director of Canton-based Logan Trucking, indicated the fuel tax will curtail the company’s ability to give more benefits to its employees.
He says, “The profit margin in trucking is so miniscule now and hard to obtain good quality drivers so… you invest a lot in your benefit packages and you pay your health care, your retirement, try to give these guys good compensation. When taxes increase like this, it takes away from your ability to benefit your employees.”
He also made a point that he didn’t have the wherewithal to increase the charges to customers because most have locked in rates for an extended period.
What do you all think? This new tax will be felt in pretty big ways, right?