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CPBJ Extra Blog

How long does my truck have, Doc?

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Trucking could be described as the blood cells of the American economic body.

Oxygen wouldn’t get to the cells without them, and that’s a problem.

So what’s the blood test say, Doctor?

Well, let’s start with the overall prognosis. You’re in a good position. The first half of 2013 wasn’t all that bad for trucking with industry revenues up 1.5 percent to nearly $114 billion, according to this story on TruckingInfo.com, citing statistics from the U.S. Commerce Department.

OK, you’re making progress, but let’s not kid ourselves. That’s really slow progress.

So, let’s look at your diet and see what’s what, and maybe a few options that possibly could improve that health.

First, let’s address your cholesterol (fuel) levels. Basically, it looks like these might not be as big of a problem as one would think, considering the pending military action against Syria. Although the U.S.’s expedition against the Assad regime might be considered a factor that could increase the price of oil and thereby diesel fuel prices, some companies say they’re not worried about it.

Any price increases are a pass-through, and technology is helping companies improve their business, according to this Fox Business video.

So you’re interested in alternative medicine, eh? Want to cut that cholesterol out of your diet all together? Well, I have to tell you, the science is still out on whether natural gas will be a sustainable alternative to diesel, at least as far as the trucking industry is concerned.

Many companies, even in the gas-and-oil-rich land of Texas, are still carefully weighing the pros and cons of natural gas trucks, according to this story in the Dallas Morning News. The biggest factors to consider are upfront costs (40 percent more – ouch), resale value, and whether the nature of the trucks means companies have to haul less per load to meet weight requirements.

And here’s where things get a little tricky. All that energy sector growth? Well, it could be serving to worsen driver shortages as business increases for some companies faster than they can find the people to steer the wheel, according to this NPR story.

I know it’s a lot to think about, but here’s some literature on the condition. Take it home, read it, discuss it with your significant other, and we’ll schedule a follow-up visit. Please see our receptionist on the way out to arrange payment.

Oh, and here’s a prescription for that nasty rash, too.

 

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jimr@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JimTRyanCPBJ.

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