Truckers Protest Record High Gas Prices

Truckers drive by the Capitol while blaring their horns in protest of high fuel prices, in Washington on Monday, April 28, 2008.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Horns blaring in a deafening fanfare, a convoy of truck drivers traveled to Washington on Monday to protest record fuel prices.

Members of Truckers and Citizens United circled the National Mall before parking their rigs at RFK Stadium. From there, about 100 protesters marched and took shuttles to the Capitol, where an afternoon rally was held.

"The high price for oil is hurting our economy," organizer Mark Kirsch said. "It's hurting middle class people."

The national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is a record $3.51, according to a recent survey of stations by AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. The price for diesel - used to transport most food, industrial and commercial goods - is $4.20 a gallon.

Independent trucker Dave Gares of Lebanon, Pa., is among those reeling from the soaring prices. He said it costs up to $1,400 to fill up his tractor-trailer rig with 220 gallons of diesel fuel.

To bring relief, the truckers are urging Congress to stop subsidizing big oil companies, release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, and end exports of oil from Alaska, among other things.

Many of the truckers drove to Washington from Harrisburg, Pa., and other areas to the north. One passenger circling the Mall held a sign that read "Enough is Enough," and a driver used a bullhorn to yell at Congress as he passed by.

William Lockridge of the Washington Metropolitan Area Truckers Association said independent truckers are barely breaking even. "If the truck stops, the economy stops," he said.

Nathan and Tara Horn of Normal, Ill., said they were visiting museums and other sites, but came to the Capitol to see the truckers' protest.

"Just knowing the influence that our citizens have to talk to our congressmen and senators ... This is awesome," said Nathan Horn, stopping to watch the trucks pass in the rain."

Tara Horn said she works at a food bank where more people are seeking assistance because of rising food prices. The price of fuel has made transporting goods across the U.S. more expensive.

Traffic was not significantly affected by the convoy of vehicles, though a few truckers drove through red lights as they honked their horns.