By Art Holliday
St. Louis (KSDK) - Diesel costs are up, and that's having a huge impact on truckers.
Gary Mantei owns CRH Trucking which leases 68 trucks for transporting everything from Harley motorcycles to cardboard. Mantei says 22 percent of his gross revenue goes to diesel costs.
Walk into Mantei's office and it doesn't take long to figure out you're in a trucker's office. He jokes that a lot of his model trucks represent companies that have gone out of business and no longer haul the stuff we want to buy.
The trucking publication Mantei reads says what we already know; fuel prices are on the rise. For Mantei, long range budgeting is problematic.
"Fuel is very very challenging. What do you do? Right now I'll budget 15 percent more than last year. I'm pulling a number out of my hat," he said.
A long haul truck holds 250 gallons of gasoline. To fill up it costs $900. That's because diesel is 41 cents a gallon more now than it was one year ago.
The worst scenario for Mantei's company is that rising fuel costs damage a fragile economy.
"First of all you're looking at what's going to happen to individuals. They're going to stop going to the movies, stop going to restaurants, which means we don't have as many things to deliver, which means we're going to have to lay people off. So it's going to affect the economy and unemployment," he said.
Remember it was only a few years ago that diesel was cheaper than gasoline, and now it's 30 to 50 cents more per gallon than gas.
CRH Trucking paid $3.8 million in fuel costs last year, and Mantei expects costs to be significantly higher this year.