Independent trucker Lee Klass keeps track of his fuel costs to the last penny. And with diesel prices near $4 a gallon, that’s creating some gut-wrenching math.
Last week he spent $1,960.67 for diesel to haul a load of tables and trade shop displays from Orlando, Fla., to Seattle. The journey now costs $2,100, a third more than a year ago.
“I’m eating most of the extra cost, which happens a lot in this country,” he said, passing through the Kansas City area Monday.
Besides boosting transportation costs, there are rising fears that higher oil prices are creating headwinds for the overall economy just as it was gaining traction out of the recession.
Oil prices, already climbing as the world economy grew, soared when unrest hit the Mideast and North Africa.
On Monday, prices were slightly down, with West Texas crude trading around $104 a barrel, while Brent crude, an international benchmark, topped $114. U.S. gasoline prices hit a national average of $3.50 a gallon, while diesel rose to $3.87.
“It’s getting to the point where the price increases aren’t good for the economy,” said Adam Siemenski, chief energy economist for Deutsche Bank in Washington.
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