WAUKESHA, Wis.— From the smallest hatchback, to the biggest semi truck, drivers of all kinds are feeling the pinch at the pump as gas prices remain high.
It is especially true for truck drivers that need to fill their tanks with diesel fuel. According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of diesel in Wisconsin is now $4.88 a gallon, up from $2.94 a gallon on average a year ago. Nationally, the price is even higher, at $5.31 a gallon.
Those price increases are being felt by Mike Bell, who owns Waukesha-based Complete Towing and Recovery. It has been a challenge filling up his fleet of six tow trucks.
“You don’t really notice it on a daily basis, but when you get your bill at the end of the month and you are normally paying $4,000 a month in fuel, and now it is $6,000 a month, you gotta figure out how you are going to offset that extra money,” said Bell as he drove a route from Waukesha to Cudahy on Monday.
Bell added each trip to fill a truck full of diesel now costs between $300 and $400. As a company that operates 24/7 and serves all of southeastern Wisconsin, it is tough finding ways to adjust operations. Bell has tried to plan routes accordingly to maximize fuel efficiency.
“The best way is if you are heading to Milwaukee, you just hope you get something coming back,” said Bell. “You try to route it so the driver as he leaves, comes back. That is about the best way we can try to schedule as we try to save.”
Bell said he is able to absorb the price increase for the time being, but worries about the impact it may have long term for his business.