The American Driver
From Drivers - For Drivers
What's News - September 2008
National average price drops 2.4 cents to $4.121
There's been a drop of 2.4 cents per gallon for diesel this past week to put the nationwide
average at $4.121, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Tuesday, Sept. 2.
Gustav remnants move north; more storms approach
The northern remnants of hurricane Gustav moved into Arkansas on Tuesday with heavy rain
and winds of about 35 miles an hour. Most of Louisiana - and parts of Texas, Mississippi and
Oklahoma - also came in for downpours.
HOS waived for relief supply deliveries in four states
Truckers assisting with relief efforts after Hurricane Gustav may be relieved from compliance
with the hours-of-service regulations.
Illinois bill would require police lights, sirens
A new bill in the Illinois House is intended to help prevent wrecks between law enforcement
vehicles and the motoring public.
Pennsylvania officials add to I-80 toll application
Pennsylvania transportation officials filed additional documents on Friday urging the FHWA to
approve their application to convert I-80 into a toll road.
Wabash raises prices because of cost of raw materials
Wabash National says it's raising the prices on its trailers by as much as 10 percent between
now and the end of the year.
IdleAire under new management
Six investment management companies now own IdleAire Technologies Inc. after their $17.5
million bid was accepted on Friday, Aug. 29.
California bills finalize transit questions on ballots
Relenting on a vow to veto any bill that reached his desk before lawmakers approved a state
budget, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law Aug. 26 that revises a transit
initiative to be included on the November ballot.
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SPECIAL REPORT: Appeals Court says motor carriers must come clean
Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008 - A ruling issued today is being hailed by OOIDA and its leaders as a
significant win in the battle between the interests of big business and individuals. In ruling that
the trial court judge made mistakes in handling an OOIDA case against mega-carrier Landstar
System Inc., a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit made the
strongest statement to date about how motor carriers are required to do business with leased
Hurricanes line up to head for the U.S.
As the remnants of hurricane Gustav continue to drench parts of the U.S., several other storms
are lining up to take their shot.
DOE grants Citgo's request for oil from U.S. emergency supplies
The U.S. Department of Energy announced on Wednesday, Sept. 3, that it will allow Citgo
Petroleum Corp. to draw 250,000 barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, citing oil
supply disruption caused by Hurricane Gustav as the reason.
Nevada lawmakers consider transportation funding options
A legislative panel in Nevada is considering how to pay to build highways throughout the state.
The options include increasing the state's fuel tax rates, authorizing public-private partnerships
for highways, and charging more for driver's licenses.
California bill moves to governor; would ban pets on drivers' laps
The California Legislature has approved a bill that is intended to encourage pet lovers to keep
their animals off their laps while at the wheel.
OOIDA Foundation offers owner-operator seminar Oct. 7-9
This business management seminar offers those drivers who are considering becoming
owner-operators - and those who have already taken the plunge - a practical no-nonsense look
at the cost of doing business in the highly competitive trucking industry.
World's Largest Truck Convoy celebrations set for kickoff
The first scheduled event for the Eight Annual World's Largest Truck Convoy for Special
Olympics is days away from kicking off in South Carolina, although one convoy event has been
Bridgestone Firestone sets Sept. 30 deadline for hero nominations
The Canadian Truck Hero Award is designed to give special recognition to a Canadian
professional truck driver who has demonstrated courage, quick thinking and integrity in the face
of emergency.
Toll revenue from West Virginia Turnpike falls short; fuel costs blamed
Chalk another one up to fuel prices and other economic conditions facing drivers. West Virginia
Turnpike officials are reporting that high fuel prices are a big reason why 2008's traffic numbers
are not living up to projections. Toll revenue from commercial traffic on the West Virginia
Turnpike was down 10.9 percent for the month of August compared with August 2007.
Citgo withdraws request, Marathon seeks to draw oil from SPR
Although Citgo Petroleum Corp. announced late Wednesday, Sept. 3, that it no longer needed
to draw oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the U.S. Department of Energy announced
that another company, Marathon Oil Corp., has requested to draw on the reserve.
Highway funding back on the map in Senate committee
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, announced this week that she wants to call the next transportation
funding reauthorization bill "MAP 21." The working title stands for Moving Ahead for Progress in
the 21st Century, Boxer stated in her opening remarks this week at the first of two field hearings
of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Big rigs banned from Big Dig bridge
The Federal Highway Administration has asked the state of Massachusetts to restrict heavy
trucks from using a section of a connector bridge on Boston's ill-fated Big Dig project because
of a crack that was found on a concrete support earlier this year. Trucks weighing more than 40
tons will be required to stay off of the Leverett Connector Bridge until repairs to the crack can be
Pilot gives a little, gets a little in plan to reopen New Jersey truck stop
Nearly three years into a battle to upgrade an old truck stop in Hunterdon County, NJ, the Pilot
Travel Center chain received some good news from the Union Township Planning Board on
Tuesday, Sept. 2.
Hanna approaches, Ike strengthens, and Josephine weakens
While power outages and other problems are still affecting Louisiana, Arkansas and
Mississippi from Hurricane Gustav, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other
relief groups could soon find themselves dealing with three other storms. All eyes are turning to
the Atlantic and the next storm in line: Tropical Storm Hanna. As of Thursday afternoon, Sept. 4,
the governors of Virginia and North Carolina had declared states of emergency as Hanna
headed toward the Atlantic coast, where it could bring high winds and rain from South Carolina
all the way to Maine.
Several California ballots include transportation initiatives
Transportation funding is a hot topic in states throughout the country. California is no exception
as the November elections loom. Ballots in several counties around the state will include
initiatives on transportation funding options. Here is a sampling of some of those initiatives.
Colorado lawmaker calls for 'young driver' decals
A Colorado state lawmaker is pursuing a plan to have the state's youngest drivers attach
decals to their vehicles warning truckers and other drivers about their inexperience on
roadways. The first-of-its-kind rule would allow teen drivers to affix decals on their vehicles for a
couple of dollars. The decals would include the words "young driver." It is not yet clear whether
use of the stickers would be mandatory or voluntary.
Bruce Mendenhall pleads not guilty to murder conspiracy
Serial killer suspect Bruce Mendenhall, already facing four murder charges, pleaded not guilty
Wednesday, Sept. 3, to charges that he plotted to kill detectives and witnesses in his case from
behind bars.
SPECIAL REPORT: DOT says Highway Trust Fund is broke
The Highway Trust Fund is going broke much faster than anticipated, U.S. Transportation
Secretary Mary Peters announced Friday, Sept. 5. Officials anticipated the fund would bottom
out sometime in 2009, but Peters told reporters by teleconference that there will be zero cash
on hand by the end of September.
LAWSUIT UPDATE: OOIDA seeks rehearing of DAC appeal
Citing almost a century of case law, OOIDA this week requested that decisions from a
three-judge appeals panel in a case against DAC Services be reheard by a complete panel of
judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver.
Hanna targets East Coast; Ike looms
As Tropical Storm Hanna sets its sights on the East Coast of the U.S., hurricane Ike waits its
turn out in the Atlantic. According to the National Hurricane Center, Hanna was expected to
make landfall in the Carolinas Friday night, though the outer bands of the storm were already
soaking the region with heavy rainfall that afternoon.
More states waive regs to help with Gustav relief efforts
Many states are waiving regs for truckers assisting with the relief efforts and clean up following
Gustav's drenching of the Gulf Coast.
Soldiers guarding FEMA trucks come under fire
Three National Guard soldiers guarding trucks containing food and water for Hurricane Gustav
victims came under fire between midnight and 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, Sept. 3, in Ville
Platte, LA, north of Lafayette.
Long Beach, L.A. ports add day-pass system with $100 fee
The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will allow long-haul truck drivers access to the ports
12 times annually through the use of a day-pass - with a catch:
OOIDA to Ontario: speed limiters treacherous
OOIDA officials say a government effort to make speed limiters mandatory in Ontario, Canada,
will not make highways safer and will not save the environment. The Owner-Operator
Independent Drivers Association filed comments with the Regulatory Registry of Ontario prior to
the regulatory deadline of Sunday, Aug. 31.
On OOIDA's Web site, useful info for produce haulers
The USDA publishes a weekly "Fruit and Vegetable Truck Rate Report," which is available on
its Web site and updated every Wednesday, but few produce truckers are actually aware that
the report exists.
New Jersey officials propose toll increases
Officials with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority project that next year's revenue won't cut it and
that toll increases are needed to keep up with costs and to pay for expansion.
URGENT: House to vote on ending cross-border program with Mexico
The cross-border trucking program with Mexico will be under the gun again tomorrow when the
U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on ending the program – and preventing any
new ones from starting. A vote on HR6630 is expected on the House floor sometime Tuesday,
and truckers are being urged to call their lawmakers in support of the measure. The Owner-
Operator Independent Drivers Association issued a National Call to Action alerting its
members to the upcoming vote. To read the Call to Action, click
Agency investigates oil inventory for futures manipulation
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is reportedly investigating whether some oil
companies are falsely reporting inventory levels in order to drive prices higher. Oil futures have
come under increasing scrutiny in recent months as Congressional leaders have questioned
manipulation of commodities through foreign market rules that aren’t always as stringent as
American laws.
Hurricane Ike threatens Gulf Coast states
New Orleans residents who just returned to their homes after evacuating for Hurricane Gustav
are now facing the possibility of having to leave again as Ike approaches the Gulf Coast. The
latest projections show the storm making landfall on Saturday, Sept. 13. For updates from the
National Hurricane Center, click
Arizona truck convoy makes ‘gains in awareness’
Two of the three World’s Largest Truck Convoy events for Special Olympics this past weekend
were canceled, but trucks rolled in Kingman, AZ, on Saturday, Sept. 6. Ruth Sanchez of Arizona
Special Olympics reported that while truck attendance was down – only four – the event was
still a community success.
California AG sues drayage companies with ‘independent contractors’
California Attorney General Jerry Brown has filed civil lawsuits against two drayage trucking
companies operating at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles – alleging the firms “abuse
their workers by denying them protections under state workers’ compensation, disability and
minimum wage laws.”
Vermont towns face possible cuts in road funds
Funding for local roads in Vermont could take a direct hit next year if state officials go through
with a plan to trim state aid to town highway programs. Struggling transportation revenues are
cited for the uncertainty.
CARB fines California propane company $36,375 for diesel violations
The California Air Resources Board has fined a California propane company $36,375 for
violating the state’s diesel truck emission regulations. A CARB audit found that Suburban
Propane of Cameron Park, CA, didn’t perform annual inspections of its heavy-duty diesel trucks
between 2006 and 2007 at 16 different distribution centers in the Golden State.
California Legislature OKs bill intended to reduce pollution from vehicles
The California Senate narrowly approved a bill that would tap on truckers and others to help
reduce pollution. The bill’s next stop is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk because the
Assembly already voted in favor of it.
Congestion pricing study ‘on hold’ in Canada
Research into congestion pricing in Canada is no longer moving forward, and officials say the
reason is strictly procedural. Others say the upcoming federal election has something to do
with it because congestion pricing is sure to alienate voters.
Canadian prime minister suspends Parliament; calls election
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called for a federal election on Oct. 14 in a
strategic attempt to gain more seats for the Conservative Party in Parliament.
URGENT: House vote pending on cross-border program with Mexico
The cross-border trucking program with Mexico was under the gun Tuesday, Sept. 9, when the
U.S. House of Representatives was expected to vote on ending the program - and preventing
any new ones from starting. A vote on HR6630 was expected on the House floor sometime
Tuesday. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association issued a National Call to
Action alerting its members to the upcoming vote. To read the Call to Action, click
Highway Trust Fund fix still alive, despite threat in Senate
Uncomfortable with the method of bailout, two Senate Republicans have blocked a bill that
would authorize the transfer of $8 billion into the federal Highway Trust Fund. The House
approved the bill, HR6532, in July on a vote of 387-37. President Bush threatened at that time to
veto it, but administration officials now say he would sign it. U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary
Peters said the president now supports the stopgap measure, although reluctantly.
Judge gives preliminary approval to L.A. clean trucks plan
A plan to limit trucks entering the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach appears to be rolling to
its Oct. 1 implementation with fewer obstacles. U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder issued a
preliminary decision not to grant an injunction to stop Clean Trucks Programs aimed at cutting
truck emissions and improving economic opportunities for the estimated 16,000 drayage
drivers who frequent the ports daily. Snyder reportedly said she would likely allow the Clean
Trucks Programs to be implemented, and said she would make a decision by Thursday, Sept.
U.S. Rep. Oberstar from Minnesota committed to funding mass transit
Improving mass transit will improve conditions of the nation's highway infrastructure too, U.S.
Rep. James Oberstar, D-MN, said Tuesday, Sept. 9.
Hurricane Ike takes aim at Gulf Coast
The governors of both Texas and Louisiana are urging residents to prepare for the possibility
that Hurricane Ike could hit the coast anywhere from eastern Louisiana to northeastern Mexico
this weekend.
Officials in Idaho discuss road funding challenges
The Idaho Transportation Funding Conference met recently to discuss the challenges of
funding for roads and bridges in the state. The group was told that 20 percent of highway miles
in Idaho are "deficient." That same percent of bridges in the state exceed their 50-year life span.
California bills advance; would impose more ignition interlocks
Before the California Legislature wrapped up their regular work for the year, multiple measures
were approved that would increase the use of ignition interlock devices for drunken drivers.
"California currently is among the most lenient of states regarding extreme drunk drivers," Sen.
Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, said in a written statement. In an effort to end that distinction,
Oropeza's bill would make it easier to require the installation of the devices in vehicles of
motorists cited for drunken driving.
KW, Pete announce synthetic axle lube; see mileage improvement
With the cost of tires going up, it would be nice to drive your fuel costs down - and every little bit
helps. Kenworth and Peterbilt customers may improve their fuel mileage an estimated 1
percent thanks to a full synthetic axle lube standard on Class 5-8 models in the U.S. and
Tire, trailer prices increases because of raw materials costs
Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions and Continental Tire North America Inc. both have raised
the price of their truck tire offerings in North America.
Weekly nationwide average price of diesel drops for eighth straight week
Positive news from U.S. Energy Information Administration: the national average for diesel
dropped another 6.2 cents to $4.059 per gallon on Monday, Sept. 8. This is the eighth straight
week the EIA has reported that the national diesel average has dropped, although it's still
$1.135 more per gallon than during this same time period in 2007.
SPECIAL REPORT: House votes to end cross-border program with Mexico
Once again, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly has voted to put an end to the
cross-border trucking program with Mexico. The members of the House voted 395-18 late
Tuesday to end the yearlong program that has allowed Mexican motor carriers full access to the
Colorado DOT to build truck parking at Dotsero
Following the announcement earlier this year that Eagle County was closing its fairgrounds
after the winter season to truck parking, the Colorado Department of Transportation has been
frantically working to finish an alternative site for truckers to park before bad weather hits.
New Jersey Turnpike tolls could double by 2012
New Jersey Turnpike Authority officials have announced a schedule for three public hearings
on their proposal to increase tolls on trucks and passenger vehicles. The officials said toll
increases are necessary on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway to pay for
maintenance and capital improvements totaling nearly $10 billion.
Second trucker killed at Sioux Falls, SD, Pilot
For the second time in three years, a trucker has been struck and killed at the Pilot Travel
Center in Sioux Falls, SD. Police say the victim, who was found near a fueling island on the
night of August 23, was 63-year-old George Taylor of Webb City, MO.
Missouri trucker found shot to death
In Missouri, the highway patrol has identified a trucker who was found shot to death at a rest
area on Monday night, Sept. 8, as 39-year-old Valentin Kirilchuk of Springfield, MO.
California toll bills advance
The California Legislature wrapped up its regular session, but not before approving a bill that
would make it easier to open toll roads in the state. Four more bills that address tolling also
have cleared the statehouse.
Alabama lawmaker wants changes to DUI rules
If a state lawmaker gets his way, the penalties for driving under the influence in Alabama will
get tougher.
Ike may head for Corpus Christi
Hurricane Ike has become a Category 2 storm as it makes its way to Texas. Forecasters are
now saying they think Hurricane Ike will probably make landfall somewhere around Corpus
Christi, TX, on Saturday.
SPECIAL REPORT: FHWA denies Pennsylvania's application to toll I-80
Thursday, Sept. 11 - Truckers, highway users and lawmakers supporting their cause are
claiming victory today as the Federal Highway Administration has rejected a tolling proposal for
I-80 in Pennsylvania.
SPECIAL REPORT: Senate votes to bail out Highway Trust Fund
The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Wednesday, Sept. 10, to send $8 billion to the Highway Trust
Fund and sidestep a major funding crisis. The short-term fix, passed by the House of
Representatives in July, came via an $8 billion transfer from the general Treasury into the
Highway Trust Fund.
Truckers weigh money, safety to deliver loads as Ike threatens Gulf Coast
Despite Hurricane Ike bearing down on the Texas and Louisiana coasts, some
owner-operators are risking it in an effort to make money and deliver their loads before truck
traffic is shut down indefinitely in the affected areas.
Bridge funding critical for aging system, officials say
Lawmakers have charted a course to prioritize bridge repairs and avoid such catastrophes as
the Minneapolis bridge collapse in August 2007. One stop on that course occurred Wednesday,
Sept. 10, in the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chaired by Sen. Barbara
Boxer, D-CA.
Canadian prime minister vows to cut diesel taxes after election
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the leader of the Conservative Party, announced
Tuesday, Sept. 9, that if he gets re-elected Oct. 14, he would trim the federal excise tax on
diesel from 4 cents to 2 cents per liter over four years. The tax cut would equate to about 7.5
cents per U.S. gallon.
OOIDA leaders to tackle highway safety, security issues at CVSA event
OOIDA officials are in Canada this week to discuss highway safety and security issues with
other transportation industry leaders from all over North America as part of the Commercial
Vehicle Safety Alliance's annual conference.
New Jersey bill would require display of credit prices for fuel
A bill that is halfway through the New Jersey statehouse could soon require fueling stations to
clearly display both the cash and credit prices for fuel purchases.
Pennsylvania bill seeks reduced idling
A bill in the Pennsylvania House, which is intended to reduce unnecessary idling of large trucks
throughout the state, could draw consideration in the waning months of the legislative session.
Here comes Ike: Texas OOIDA members hunker down
OOIDA member Gary Coe lives in Baytown, TX, about four miles from the Gulf Coast. While
many in his community were evacuating on Thursday afternoon, he and his wife and four
Yorkies were getting ready to ride out the storm.
Fear of Ike leads to spike in fuel prices
"It's pure panic." That's the way one oil industry expert describes what's happening in trading of
gasoline at the wholesale level in anticipation of Hurricane Ike hitting the Texas Coast.
SPECIAL REPORT: Federal Maritime Commission slows port truck ban?
Friday, Sept. 12, 2008 - An environmental plan to restrict trucks entering the ports of Long
Beach and Los Angeles hasn't been stopped by months of political arguments or a federal
lawsuit. However, a low profile federal agency may at least delay the ports' Clean Trucks Plan.
CVSA announces dates for Brake Safety Week
Truckers will want to note that the CVSA's Brake Safety Week is scheduled to run nationwide
from Sunday, Sept. 21 through Saturday, Sept. 27.
Saving your own skin
According to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spokesman, there is an automatic
HOS exemption if an authorized government official issues a declaration of an emergency and
the motor carrier is providing direct relief for the protection of human life or public welfare.
Hurricane Ike sends gas prices soaring; diesel and oil prices remain steady
Gasoline prices that continue to spike around the country were at first fueled by panic on the
spot markets that sent the price of wholesale gasoline up by as much as a dollar in the Gulf
States alone.
President expected to OK Highway Trust Fund fix
President Bush was expected to sign a bill into law Friday, Sept. 12, which transfers $8 billion
from the Treasury's general fund into the Highway Trust Fund.
60,000 truckers enrolled in TWIC as enforcement looms
The Transportation Security Administration says only 60,000 truck drivers have enrolled in the
Transportation Worker Identification Credential program, although several major ports are
preparing to require TWIC cards next month.
Judge won't issue injunction; ATA seeks review of port suit denial
A federal judge has officially rejected the American Trucking Association's request for an
injunction to stop a restrictive licensing plan for the trucks that enter the Ports of Los Angeles
and Long Beach every day.
I-4 downtown Orlando converts to variable speeds
Beginning Monday, Sept. 15, a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 4 in downtown Orlando, FL, will
convert to variable speeds. The idea is to prevent backups by keeping traffic at a steady pace
and avoiding stop-and-go traffic.
Truckin' for Kids Truck Drags set for Sept. 27-28
The 28th Annual Truckin' for Kids Truck Drags and Show & Shine will be Sept. 27-28 at the
Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, CA.
One down, one to go in Pennsylvania
After claiming victory in the fight against I-80 becoming a toll road in Pennsylvania, truckers
turned their attention to other critical transportation issues in the state.
Nominations sought for Canadian Truck Hero Award
Nominations for the 52nd annual Bridgestone Firestone Canadian Truck Hero Award are due
by Sept. 30. The award is designed to give special recognition to a Canadian professional truck
driver who has demonstrated courage, quick thinking and integrity in the face of emergency.
Quiet! It's time for the 2008 Silent Quilt Auction
The OOIDA Scholarship Committee is once again offering members and drivers everywhere a
chance to bid on a neat quilt, plus contribute to the OOIDA Scholarship Fund.
Gulf Coast states brace for Hurricane Ike
As more than a million people were evacuating in anticipation of Hurricane Ike - predicted to hit
landfall late Friday or early Saturday - a Texas Department of Transportation spokesman said
evacuation procedures were going "much smoother" than previously during Hurricane Rita.
Oil companies forced to draw from Strategic Petroleum Reserve after Ike
Pump prices have been unpredictable in many parts of the country as oil refineries in the Gulf
Coasst begin assessing damage caused by Hurricane Ike.
FMCSA: Drivers shouldn't be cited for laptops under TV reg
Commercial vehicle inspectors in Arizona and in all U.S. states shouldn't cite truckers for
having a laptop in their cab, at least not under a federal regulation that bans televisions, the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration acknowledged last week.
Total Recall? Gov. Palin asked Governator to destroy port fees
Shortly before U.S. Sen. John McCain announced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate,
Palin drafted a letter to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, asking him to veto recently
approved port container fees.
Pennsylvania bill would fund road and bridge work without tolls, taxes
A bipartisan plan in the Pennsylvania House to fund road and bridge repairs without new taxes
or tolls could come up for consideration in the final months of the legislative session.
New Jersey bill to change how state's hazmat haulers are compensated
A bill in the New Jersey Assembly that would change how the state compensates hazmat
haulers could come up for consideration once lawmakers return Sept. 22 from a break.
Despite Ike, national diesel average still drops 3.6 cents to $4.023
Although Hurricane Ike has caused the shutdown of more than 99 percent of the Gulf Coast's
oil production, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is still reporting a 3.6-cent decrease
in the national average for diesel to $4.023 on Monday, Sept. 15.
Travel ill-advised in hurricane areas
TxDOT officials are strongly advising against travel in areas damaged or flooded by Hurricane
Ike until order is restored.
Trust Fund short-term fix signed into law
State transportation planners around the country are breathing a little easier today after
President Bush signed into law a measure that will put $8 billion into the nearly bankrupt
Highway Trust Fund.
Coordination is key to Ike recovery efforts
When you mention Hurricane Katrina around truckers, it brings back bad memories of
frustrating attempts to find or deliver vital loads of supplies to devastated areas, only to be
smacked back by bureaucratic red tape.
Certain safety regs for trucks lifted in more states
Federal regulations allow the temporary lifting of certain safety regulations for any motor carrier
or driver providing direct assistance in relief during a declared emergency. The president has
the authority to do this, or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or a state governor.
EPA grants fuel waiver request on TxLED fuel
As a result of the disruption in the fuel supply caused by Hurricane Ike, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency announced on Monday, Sept. 15, that it will waive - only until Sept. 30 - certain
special diesel fuel requirements that specifically apply to Texas.
Wisconsin county officials seek resolution to cut diesel idling
Officials in Dane County, WI, are pursuing an ordinance that is intended to reduce unnecessary
idling of large trucks in unincorporated areas of the county. The city of Madison and Dane
County already ban diesel idling on government property.
New I-35 bridge to open Thursday in Minneapolis
Just 13 months after the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, officials dedicated a new
span and expect to open it to traffic three months ahead of schedule on Thursday, Sept. 18.
New Jersey legislation addresses transportation funding
With less than four months remaining until New Jersey lawmakers wrap up their regular
session, multiple efforts of interest to truck drivers could draw consideration. Among them are
measures that address transportation funding.
Wyoming lawmaker pursues tolling for Interstate 80
A state senator in Wyoming continues to pursue tolling as a way to fund maintenance and
improvements on Interstate 80 despite the federal government's recent denial of a tolling
application filed by Pennsylvania officials. Sen. Michael Von Flatern, R-Gillette, describes the
need for tolls as a maintenance issue on the 410-mile interstate. He said road closures
caused by bad weather could be averted if the interstate were upgraded.
Senate committee OKs bill to dedicate $1 billion for bridges
Legislation that lawmakers say will prevent bridge disasters like the tragic collapse 13 months
ago in Minneapolis has been approved by a committee and is on its way to the Senate floor.
The bill calls for the federal government to revise its prioritization methods for structurally
deficient and functionally obsolete bridges.
OOIDA insurance not touched by AIG debacle
The two-day rollercoaster of speculation on whether insurance giant AIG would be in business
much longer ended with a government bailout to the tune of more than $85 billion Tuesday
night, Sept. 16. While AIG has its financial fingers in just about everyone's business, it is in no
way connected to commercial vehicle insurance offered by OOIDA to its members.
Warrant issued for man who dropped tombstone on truck
In Pryor, OK, prosecutors have issued a warrant for the man they believe dropped a 110-pound
tombstone off an overpass on the Cherokee Turnpike, severely injuring a truck driver. The
Associated Press reported that Jeremy McGirt had already allegedly confessed that he was
drunk when he shoved the tombstone over an overpass railing on June 12.
Fake letters on DOT stationary again target truckers
Another scam involving fraudulent letters on fake U.S. Department of Transportation letterhead
is making the rounds, and the DOT's Office of Inspector General is again urging people not to
fall for it. Click
here to read the latest version of the fake letter. Click here to read the alert from
the OIG.
New Jersey bills focus on truck inspections; doubling emissions fines
The topic of trucking has been an item of interest this year in the New Jersey statehouse.
Multiple measures that address truck inspections could draw consideration once lawmakers
return Monday, Sept. 22, from a break. One bill would authorize "appropriately trained" local law
enforcement officers to inspect trucks. Another would establish a pilot program to use infrared
sensors for the inspection of commercial motor vehicles. Still another bill would double
penalties for large trucks that fail roadside emissions inspections.
California Legislature OKs bill intended to curb sprawl, emissions
With the intention of slowing the increase in emissions, the California Legislature has
approved a bill that would implement the nation's most comprehensive effort to reduce sprawl.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not indicated whether he will sign the bill. The first-of-its-kind
plan is intended to reduce global warming emissions by drawing up regional plans to reduce
miles driven by commuters.
Suspected serial killer Mendenhall linked to another missing woman
DNA now links a former trucker charged with killing four women - and trying to have five other
people murdered - to a 28-year-old Nashville woman who vanished in June 2007.
SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA supports Baird’s bill on loans for truckers
U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-WA, introduced a bill yesterday that would allow small-business
truckers to apply for low-interest loans to keep their businesses afloat in the wake of record
high fuel prices that have squeezed truckers’ bottom lines in recent months. Click
here to read
the text of Baird’s bill.
CVSA’s brake safety blitz begins Sunday, Sept. 21
Truckers will want to note that the CVSA’s Brake Safety Week is scheduled nationwide from
Sunday, Sept. 21, through Saturday, Sept. 27. For more information, click
Indiana DOT delays reopening of Interstate 80/94
Officials with the Indiana Department of Transportation had hoped to reopen a four-mile stretch
of Interstate 80/94 Thursday afternoon, Sept. 18, after it was shut down for days by flooding. But
in a press release issued in mid-afternoon, DOT officials said crews were still pumping water
off the highway and that it won’t reopen until they’re done. Click
here for more information on the
status of the interstate and other Indiana roads.
Environmentalists tout emission fee as transit fund generator
A special state panel in Colorado has been told that an emission fee could be used to pay for
transportation work in the state. An environmental coalition is proposing that motorists be
charged a “greenhouse gas emission fee” on their vehicles. The revenue from the fee would
top $500 million annually for road and bridge repairs, as well as transit work, The Denver Post
Hearing set for Monday for California toll road through state park beach
Federal officials will gather testimony on Monday to consider whether a controversial toll road
project in Southern California lives or dies. The proposed tolled extension of State Route 241 in
Orange and San Diego Counties would bisect state parkland at San Onofre State Beach if
OOIDA insurance not touched by AIG debacle
The two-day rollercoaster of speculation on whether insurance giant AIG would be in business
much longer ended with a government bailout to the tune of more than $85 billion Tuesday
night, Sept. 16. However, that didn’t end the apprehension of people who have insurance
policies – such as commercial vehicle insurance policies – through American International
Group Inc. AIG is in no way connected to commercial vehicle insurance offered by OOIDA to its
New Jersey lawmaker seeks protective overpass fencing
A bill in the New Jersey Assembly that is intended to add a barrier of protection for drivers in the
state could come up for consideration once lawmakers return Monday, Sept. 22, from a break.
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Trenton, is the sponsor of a bill that would require the
installation of protective fencing along certain highway overpasses in the state to prevent
objects from being dropped onto the roadway below.
Port of Houston reopens to trucks
The Port of Houston, which is the second largest port in the nation, reopened most of its
terminals for business Thursday morning, Sept. 18. It was good news for the transportation
industry and meant a return to work for many truckers hauling cargo in and out of the port.
World’s Largest Truck Convoy set to go Saturday in many states
The scheduled events for the Eight Annual World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics
are days away. The World’s Largest Truck Convoy is a combined effort between law
enforcement officers and truck drivers who participate in the celebration to raise money for the
Special Olympics. Most planned convoys will roll on Sept. 20, others are scheduled to run soon.
Woman sought in connection to trucker's death at I-29 rest stop in Missouri
The Missouri State Highway Patrol is now classifying the Sept. 8 death of a trucker at a rest stop
north of Kansas City, MO, as a homicide. And they'd like to question a woman they describe as
a "person of interest". Anyone with information can call the Missouri Highway Patrol at
New Jersey toll meetings next week; rates could double by 2012
People wishing to comment on a proposal by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to raise toll
rates can do so in writing or at upcoming public meetings. Toll rates for all vehicle classes on
the on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway could double by 2012, according to
figures released earlier this month.
FMCSA: Drivers shouldn't be cited for laptops under TV reg
Commercial vehicle inspectors in Arizona and in all U.S. states shouldn't cite truckers for
having a laptop in their cab, at least not under a federal regulation that bans televisions, the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration acknowledged last week.
New Jersey bill would fine terminal operators for delaying truckers at ports
As state lawmakers in New Jersey prepare to reconvene the regular session Monday, Sept. 22,
three bills that could come up for consideration are intended to improve port operations and
safety on roadways. One would prohibit ports from making a truck wait longer than 30 minutes
before beginning loading or off-loading container cargo at a terminal. Terminal operators would
be subject to a $250 fine for making a truck wait longer than 30 minutes, and each delayed
truck would be a separate violation.
Port of Galveston set to reopen; city still recovering
A week after being shut down by Hurricane Ike, the Port of Galveston is set to reopen on
Monday, Sept. 22. However, truckers who pick up cargo at the port won't actually see the first
ship unloaded until Wednesday, according to a spokesman.
Truckin’ for Kids Truck Drags set next weekend in California
The 28th Annual Truckin' for Kids Truck Drags and Show & Shine is scheduled for Sept. 27-28
at the Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, CA. For more information on the nonprofit organization
Truckin' For Kids, or the show, visit
World's Largest Truck Convoy set to go Saturday in many states
The scheduled events for the Eight Annual World's Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics
are days away. The World's Largest Truck Convoy is a combined effort between law
enforcement officers and truck drivers who participate in the celebration to raise money for the
Special Olympics. Most planned convoys will roll on Sept. 20, others are scheduled to run soon.
For more information on this and more on the nationwide effort and specific convoys, click
CVSA's brake safety blitz begins this Sunday, lasts a full week
Truckers will want to note that the CVSA's Brake Safety Week is scheduled nationwide from
Sunday, Sept. 21, through Saturday, Sept. 27. For more information, click
Southeast U.S. suffers fuel shortages
The southeast United States continues to suffer from severe fuel shortages. The New York
Times reported Sunday, Sept. 21, that drivers from Nashville, TN, to Atlanta, GA, and
Tallahassee, FL, are seeing closed stations, high prices and long lines at the pumps.
Officials release composite sketch of woman sought in trucker's death
Investigators from the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control have
developed a composite sketch of a "person of interest" who is being sought in connection with
the shooting death of a trucker at a rest area on Interstate 29. The woman in the sketch was
seen at the Platte County, MO, rest area Sept. 8, which is the day 39-year-old Valentin Kirilchuk
of Springfield, MO, was found shot to death.
Florida driver's license rules change Oct. 1 to comply with Real ID Act
Starting Oct. 1, the rules for obtaining a Florida driver's license will change to comply with the
federal Real ID Act of 2005. Florida now joins a small group of states that have taken steps
toward compliance with Real ID, including Indiana, Michigan, Nevada and Tennessee.
Get your TWIC CARD: enforcement starts soon at many ports
With mandatory enforcement dates looming, the Transportation Security Administration is
urging truck drivers and other workers who enter ports to obtain their Transportation Worker
Identification Credential, or TWIC card.
New Jersey bills address probable cause, CB use and more
As New Jersey state lawmakers reconvened their regular session Monday, Sept. 22, there were
several issues of interest to truckers. Among them are bills that would require probable cause
for searches and would exempt CB radio use from the state's hand-held device restriction for
CVSA's brake safety blitz under way; lasts all week
Enforcement officers across the country are giving extra attention to brakes on commercial
vehicles this week as part of the CVSA's Brake Safety Week. For more information, click
Texas and Louisiana recover from hurricane damage
Galveston Island is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, Sept. 24 - more than a week after
Hurricane Ike flattened homes; downed trees and power lines; and left streets, yards and living
rooms coated in a thick layer of mud. When residents return, they'll face a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Diesel price continues to dribble down; oil logs record single-day jump
For two and a half months now the nationwide average price of diesel has been dribbling
down. In the 10th straight week of declines, the on-road diesel was averaging $3.958 per
gallon according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration report on Monday, Sept. 22.
Despite the decline, the per-gallon price is still almost 93 cents higher than it was at this time
in 2007.
Senate hears testimony about bailout: 'The taxpayer is on the hook'
The U.S. Senate opened hearings Tuesday, Sept. 23, on the Bush administration's proposed
$700 billion bailout of Wall Street - with both Democrats and Republicans blasting the plan as
dumping huge debt onto the backs of taxpayers. "The taxpayer is on the hook," admitted U.S.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
New Jersey GOP pursues halt to toll hikes; public hearings continue
New Jersey Senate Republicans are working on a plan to block tolls from being raised on the
state's Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. The state's 17 GOP senators are calling for a veto
of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority's proposal to charge higher tolls to pay for transportation.
Crowds pack hearing on California toll road through state park beach
A public hearing in Del Mar, CA, on Monday, Sept 22, concerning a controversial toll road project
drew a huge crowd. The Los Angeles Times reported that about 1,000 people showed up and
that tollway opponents and supporters tried to outshout each other with chants before the
session started.
Michigan lawmaker seeks change to state's road fund distribution
How the state allocates money to counties for roadwork would be changed if a Michigan state
lawmaker gets his way. Sen. John Pappageorge, R-Troy, has introduced a bill that would base
the state's road fund allocation for counties on "annual vehicle miles traveled" as determined by
the Federal Highway Administration. The allocation from the Michigan Department of
Transportation now is determined by total miles of roadway.
Trucks turn out for Special Olympics despite rough economy
Reports are coming from across North America about participation in Saturday's World's
Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics. Washington state and Ontario both put together
impressive numbers.
Truckers convoy to DC to keep focus on key issues affecting them
Fed up with high fuel prices, a group of truckers headed to Washington, DC, on Tuesday, Sept.
23, to voice their concerns about how soaring fuel prices are forcing them to choose between
food and fuel to keep their businesses afloat.
SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA to help award part of $50 million EPA grant
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Foundation received a grant from the
Environmental Protection Agency as part of the agency’s $50 million Diesel Emission
Reduction Program. The EPA announced the first $3.4 million in funding today for clean diesel
projects under the Diesel Emission Reduction Program. Of that, OOIDA will be administering
$1.13 million. To read the EPA's press release on the program, click
DOE official says hurricane-related fuel shortages could last for weeks
Many truckers headed to the Southeast say they are worried whether there will be enough fuel
to fill up their tanks when they get there because of reports of hundreds of stations that have
closed because of shortages in the wake of Hurricane Ike. Healy Baumgardner, DOE press
secretary, told Land Line on Wednesday that the "eastern seaboard - up to DC - could
experience constraints for the next few weeks due to refineries being down and Colonial
pipeline operating at reduced rates."
Eyes off the road likely cause of fatal crash in Florida
A common driving distraction may have caused a tragic accident involving a tractor-trailer and a
school bus in Florida on Tuesday, Sept. 23. WJXT-TV in Jacksonville reported on Wednesday
that Reinaldo Gonzalez, 30, of Orlando, told Florida Highway Patrol investigators that he was on
his cell phone before his truck slammed into a school bus.
Wisconsin idle reduction program accepting applications for leftover cash
Trucking companies and owner-operators headquartered in Wisconsin still have time to apply
for reimbursement grants to cover half the cost and installation of an APU or other idle
reduction technology. Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Commerce recently
announced they were extending the application deadline for the 2008 Diesel Truck Idling
Reduction Grant until Dec. 1.
Nevada OKs road budget; more than half goes to 4-mile project on I-15
Nearly half a billion dollars has been approved for Nevada roads. The state's Transportation
Board voted to allot $450 million for the state road budget for the current year. The seven board
members voted unanimously to approve the budget, which includes an estimated $240 million
- more than half of the overall budget - for a design-build project on four miles of Interstate 15
near Las Vegas, from Tropicana Avenue to state Route 160.
New Jersey bill would crack down on road rage
As lawmakers in New Jersey head back to the statehouse this week, one bill that could draw
consideration is intended to help curb road rage. Dubbed "Jessica's Law," the measure would
make such offenses as tailgating and making obscene gestures while driving primary offenses.
FBI investigates meltdown; Buffett puts $5 billion into Goldman Sachs
The FBI has launched an investigation into four huge financial institutions whose collapse was
at the heart of Wall Street's meltdown, prompting the proposed $700 billion taxpayer bailout.
Meanwhile, billionaire businessman Warren Buffet calmed many investors' nerves on Tuesday,
Sept. 23, by putting $5 billion into Goldman Sachs.
FDIC, auto industry and Wall Street in line for taxpayer bailouts
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. may soon need a taxpayer bailout of as much as $150
billion as local bank failures mount. Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives has
approved $25 billion in low-interest loans to bail out the ailing American auto industry.
Flying J rationing fuel; other chains report less serious supply situations
Flying J officials said Thursday, Sept. 25, that diesel supplies were "critical" at about 16
locations in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia where fuel was being
rationed out to customers. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike are being blamed for fuel and power
outages in areas supplied by Gulf refineries, officials with several major truck stop chains
FEMA ice let to melt in Texas and Louisiana; truckers told to keep quiet
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has received generally good reviews for its
response to Hurricane Ike, but the agency's handling of ice is being questioned. The San
Antonio Express-News reported Wednesday, Sept. 24, that hundreds of trucks were pulling in
at Randolph Auxiliary Air Field near San Antonio. The trucks were loaded with pallets of ice, and
the ice was being off-loaded to melt in the sun.
Texas officials seek haulers to move cattle out of two coastal counties
State officials in Texas said Wednesday, Sept. 24, that they need more trucks to haul as many
as 20,000 cattle out of two southeast counties, which were inundated by the storm surge of
Hurricane Ike. They are looking for cattle trucks that can haul 50 or more head at a time.
Bill to reduce idling statewide advances in Pennsylvania
A Pennsylvania House committee has approved a bill that is intended to reduce unnecessary
idling of large trucks throughout the state. In most instances, drivers idling their trucks while
sleeping or resting would be exempt from the rule.
Federal appeals panel rejects ATA suit against ports' clean truck plans
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have won a second victory in their quest to
implement the nation's first "clean truck" requirements for port drivers. On Wednesday, Sept.
24, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion by the ATA to issue an injunction against
portions of the ports' clean truck plans. Beginning Oct. 1, all trucks with pre-1989 model year
diesel engines will be banned from entering the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The
ports' restrictions will limit the number of trips most long-haul owner operators make to the
ports by 2012.
New Jersey bill would mandate snow-free vehicles
With a little more than three months remaining until New Jersey lawmakers wrap up their
legislative session, a bill that could draw consideration would have the state get tough with
drivers who fail to clear snow and ice off their vehicles. The rule would apply to commercial and
non-commercial vehicles. Violators would face fines between $25 and $75. No points would be
assessed against their driver's licenses.
Truckers dealt second blow after disappointing DC protest turnout
Already cash-strapped, truckers who convoyed to Capitol Hill earlier this week to protest fuel
prices and meet with lawmakers were dealt another blow when they woke up on Wednesday,
Sept. 24, and found two of their rigs and one trailer missing.
SPECIAL BULLETIN: FMCSA extends rule suspensions for relief drivers
Because of the continuing fuel shortage emergency in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today issued a 10-day extension of temporary
suspensions of certain federal safety regulations. For details, see
Fuel shortages persist in South and Southeast
Fuel shortages - both gas and diesel - continue to plague the South and Southeast. The
hurricane-related shortages have affected trucking from Atlanta to Asheville, NC, and created a
wave of panic buying among motorists. Click
here for Flying J's list of locations and supply
levels, as well as which stations are "allocating" diesel.
Pennsylvania Turnpike lease proposal set to expire
The bid by a Spanish-American consortium for a proposed lease of the Pennsylvania Turnpike
is set to expire next week with little hope of emerging from a legislative committee. Legislation
to enable a 75-year turnpike lease, which Gov. Ed Rendell supports, is currently tied up in the
state House Transportation Committee.
Michigan House OKs bills to expanded price gouging protections
In the wake of more than 1,000 allegations of price gouging in Michigan resulting from
Hurricane Ike, the state's House approved a pair of bills intended to help further protect
consumers in the state from being gouged at the fuel pump.
MassPike directors discuss toll increases to pay off Big Dig, other bills
Nothing is official yet, but the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority is considering more toll
increases to balance the budget and pay down debts. According to Boston media, the turnpike
board is discussing a toll increase of $1 or up to $1.50 per passenger vehicle and per truck
axle at the Allston-Brighton interchanges.
TWIC enrollment centers now open nationwide
The number of truck drivers enrolling in the Transportation Worker Identification Credential
remains low, although TWIC applicants now have nearly 150 enrollment centers to choose
from. The Transportation Security Administration announced last week that the 149th and final
TWIC enrollment center was open and ready for worker registration.
Hold the port: Commission launches another clean truck investigation
A low-profile federal shipping commission may yet slow down the enactment of new "clean
truck" requirements at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Officials with the Federal
Maritime Commission announced Wednesday, Sept. 24, they are opening another
investigation into the activities of the twin ports.
Pennsylvania bill would put limits on young drivers
If a Pennsylvania state lawmaker gets his way, new restrictions would be put on the youngest
drivers in the state. Sponsored by Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Monroeville, the bill would restrict the
most inexperienced drivers to one passenger under 18 at a time. Exceptions would be made
for family members. Similar passenger limitations are in place in nearly 40 states.
U.S. home sales, durable goods orders decline
Data from the U.S. Commerce Department released Thursday, Sept. 25, showed that
new-home sales in the U.S. fell in August to a 17-year low. Also, orders for durable goods fell
by 4.5 percent in August, twice the drop that analysts were expecting.
U.S. Labor Department sues Mexican company for drivers' back wages
The U.S. Labor Department has filed a lawsuit against Cemex, a Mexican-owned company with
U.S. headquarters in Houston. Cemex, a provider of cement and concrete products, allegedly
failed to pay overtime to about 2,000 cement truck drivers in eight states in violation of the Fair
Labor Standards Act.
SPECIAL REPORT: Bill mandates pass-through of DOD fuel surcharges
The days of pocketing a profit off fuel surcharges on Department of Defense loads collected by
middlemen who don't buy the fuel are numbered thanks to a bill recently passed by Congress.
The Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, approved by the Senate on
Saturday, Sept. 27, includes language that mandates the pass-through of any fuel surcharges
collected on DOD loads to the person who bears the cost of the fuel. The bill has been sent to
the president to be signed into law.
SPECIAL REPORT: L.A., Long Beach ports to accept day pass, credit cards
Sept. 29, 2009 – As the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles prepare to enforce the nation’s
first large-scale ban on dirty trucks at ports, the ports have quietly made a “temporary access
permit” available for intermittent truck visitors.
IRS announces that per diem rate remains unchanged for 2009
Officials with the Internal Revenue Service announced recently that the transportation workers';
special standard per diem rate will remain at $52 for 2009. The 80-percent deduction rule will
also remain unchanged for 2009.
CARB fines Bimbo Bakeries $300,000 for skirting air quality regs
CARB announced last week that Bimbo Bakeries - makers of Francisco and Oroweat breads
and Tia Rosa tortillas - would pay $305,250 in fines for air quality violations in 2006 and 2007.
Michigan roads budget, international bridge study get OK
The Michigan Legislature has reached agreement on the $3.6 billion state transportation
budget, which allows the study of an additional Detroit-area bridge to Canada.
Nevada proposal to raise sales tax for police
In ongoing preparations for the 2009 regular session, state lawmakers, state agencies and
local governments in Nevada have been busy requesting bills for consideration when the
Legislature convenes at the statehouse.
Fuel shortages persist; panic helps perpetuate problems
With diesel fuel shortages persisting in the southeast, Flying J continues to have the most
Bailout bill fails in the House; stocks tumble
It looks like it's back to the drawing board on the proposed $700 billion taxpayer bailout for Wall
Street. The U.S. House of Representatives rejected the bailout bill Monday afternoon on a vote
of 205-228 - 12 votes short. Tthe Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down nearly 778 points.
The nearly 7 percent drop amounts to the worst one-day decline in the average in history.
National diesel average rises slightly to $3.959 after 10-week decrease
After 10 weeks of decreasing fuel prices, the nationwide average inched up one-tenth of a cent
to average $3.959 per gallon for diesel, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting
on Monday, Sept. 29.