We don’t want to quit’ | Small trucking operators fight to stay afloat amid high gas prices

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We don’t want to quit’ | Small trucking operators fight to stay afloat amid high gas prices

It’s a new record high for gas prices. On Friday, the statewide average for diesel fuel in Missouri is $5.79.

Author: Justina Coronel (KSDK)

Published: 10:26 PM CDT June 17, 2022

Updated: 10:26 PM CDT June 17, 2022

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — It’s a new record high for gas prices.

On Friday, the statewide average for Diesel in Missouri is $5.79.

And just on Thursday, the statewide gas price average in Missouri is $4.68 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, a new record high, according to the AAA Missouri Weekend Gas Watch.

AAA shares higher gas prices are due to strong demand along with persistent concern over tighter global crude oil supplies with the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the world cutting off Russian oil.

As the numbers keep climbing, businesses that depend heavily on gas are struggling.

Matt Hart with the Illinois Trucking Association said the Illinois nonprofit trade association represents the trucking industry and is a part of the American Trucking Association, which includes all states and 37,000 trucking companies. 

Hart worries for the smaller trucking operators who may be at risk.

St. Louisan Gina Puzzo is a small business owner of a trucking company called Puzzo LLC. 

She’s been in the business for 20 years, but she’s owned her own company for six years.

“We do the St. Louis area, Illinois area, Springfield, Missouri and Paducah. Some of those loads, it’s almost 600 miles,” Puzzo shares. 

She has three trucks, but she’s forced to shift gears.

Now, she’s down to two because of gas prices.

“I had a driver that spent $500 a day on one truck. Two trucks last week was almost $4,000. They’re diesel, it’s going up every single day and it’s our main expense,” Puzzo said. 

Carrying goods every day is starting to weigh heavy.

“We’re not making any money anymore, we’re putting all the gas in the gas tank. At $4,000 a week in gas, two trucks… what is that $12,000 a month, just in gas!” Puzzo said. 

Puzzo shares these prices have almost doubled from the year prior.

Now, when they go out to make deliveries, drivers need to be strategic.

“You don’t want to end in Illinois because you can’t afford the gas,” Puzzo added. 

That’s because llinois has the third-highest fuel tax rate in the country, with Missouri being the sixth-lowest.

However, it seems like pain at the pump is being felt everywhere.

“Now it’s almost $6 a gallon. Every week, I pay more in gas and I don’t how much I can keep paying to keep the company going,” Puzzo said. 

For now, Puzzo plans to stay on course. As a female owner in a male-dominated field, she doesn’t want to give up.

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