March 31, 2022
The Honorable Deb Haaland
Secretary, Department of the Interior
1845 C St NW
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Secretary Haaland,
The rejection of offshore lease sales, which has become an effective moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico by the current administration is negatively impacting the transportation industry, specifically the trucking industry’s access to affordable energy and its ability to offer competitive rates businesses need so as not to ultimately pass on additional costs to consumers.
A barrel of oil has jumped over $100 and gasoline prices in some areas of the country have increased 50% and continue to rise each day. The uncertainty posed by the Russian conflict and with demand outstripping supply, this puts the U.S. transportation industry in a precarious position. The U.S. transportation sector as a whole consumes an average of 122 million gallons per day of fuel, and each commercial truck drives 605 to 650 miles per day. With diesel prices reaching an average of $3.53 across the country, commercial trucking will take a huge hit in diesel costs to maintain business as usual and ensure goods are delivered to their destination.
The consumer price index has risen 7.5% over the last 12 months creating increased costs for light and commercial vehicles and ultimately affecting the bottom line of many individual truck owners and fleets. With sustained increases in diesel prices, it compounds the pressure on a business that already is challenged with tight margins. The trucking industry specifically helps to transport 70% of our nation’s goods. With diesel prices hitting record-high prices, the cost of goods will increase not only from inflation but also from the extra costs the trucking industry will incur.
Additionally, the cost of operating a commercial truck is roughly $180,000. High energy prices linked with record inflation affect the transportation industry directly, through increased maintenance and repairs as well as individual issues associated with day-to-day tasks.
While it may take longer to fight inflation, there are measures we can take now to alleviate high gas prices. While the Biden Administration claims it is using every tool in its tool box, it is not doing all that it can to lower energy prices for truckers in our nation. Currently, federal lease sales have come and gone with no explanation or plan on when they will occur. Although the U.S. has been the world’s largest producer of energy, we’re still importing oil from Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. We need to put America’s energy security back into its own hands. Once we can return to offering offshore oil and gas lease sales, stable and affordable prices of energy for consumers and businesses across the country can be accessible once again.
We ask for your support in urging the Biden Administration to open the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas leasing as quickly as possible to benefit the transportation sector, our drivers and businesses across the nation.
C. Renee Amar