Diesel fuel, the lifeblood of California’s nearly $40 billion agriculture industry, is fully 10 percent more expensive than it was one year ago, threatening to cut into what had been shaping up to be a successful autumn for its farmers and the truckers who move their goods around the state.
High diesel prices squeeze almost all businesses that deal in physical products, but their effect is magnified on the refrigerated trucking industry. California farmers rely on refrigerated trailer trucks, or “reefers,” to get their perishable goods such as meat, cheese and fruit to market in a necessarily timely fashion. These reefers require diesel to power their cooling systems and drive the truck, making their operating costs especially sensitive to changes in fuel prices. Farmers and refrigerated haulers have a mutually dependent relationship; farmers need haulers to be available within a small window of time or they risk spoilage, and haulers need a supply of refrigerated cargo to be able to charge a premium to transport.
For more, see: Refrigerated Truckers Work Around High Diesel Prices