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Rising diesel prices force Big Country transport company to downsize

By Jenna Rogers, Reporter, jrogers@ktxs.com
Published On: Feb 21 2013 03:52:03 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 21 2013 07:09:47 PM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Fuel prices in general have made dramatic leaps in the past month, and diesel prices are no exception.

Thursday, the price in Abilene was up to $4.19 per gallon.

Lone Star Car Transportation is feeling the impact, having had to raise freight prices to compensate.

CEO of the company, Yvonne Williams, said the company had no choice. Profits have been down, and they have to make up for the high cost of the fuel.

It also has had to downsize, letting go of a dispatcher and a truck.

"My employees are like my family. To have to let one of them go...that's really tough," Williams said.

Although prices do increase around this time of year as U.S. refineries prepare to switch to more expensive summer-blend gas, the latest jump was a hard pill to swallow for Williams.

She said it hasn’t been this bad since 2008, when the United States was in the middle of a major recession.

"People don't understand. We're right back where we were. It's killing us," she said.

Her business is not the only one suffering. Early Thursday, she spoke on the phone with another independent trucking company, who said they are also afraid.

"It's the little guys that are getting shut down. The ones that don't have the funds to hang in there," Williams said.

It's not just the trucking industry that will be hit by the spike.

Transportation fees drive up the cost of nearly everything – from groceries to clothing.

"The price of everything is going to go up. That's just the bottom line," she said.

Williams said he worries the issue will only get worse.

"What's going to happen next year...at the end of this year? Are we going to be able to survive the summer's fuel costs? I don't know,” Williams said.

Williams said her business has 25 percent fewer jobs than they did at this time last year.