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Fuel for Thought

Diesel fuel under a dollar

By Greg Huggins
Posted Apr 13th 2021 9:17AM

Do you remember when diesel fuel was under a dollar? Real diesel fuel, not 5,10,15 or 20% biodiesel. Remember when you had to drive a stick shift if you wanted to drive a truck? No automated manual transmissions, no power steering and not much in the way of comfort. Just rugged, hard working, no frills machines that got the job done. We had mechanical engines without all the new emissions and we could pull out a tool set and fix most things that happened along the side of the road and get back rolling again. We had to fix it, there were no cell phones and the truck stops were few and far between. Remember long stretches of highway with nothing in sight? Not a car, nor a fuel stop for miles on end. Then you would see that truck stop, grab a bite to eat while you reconnect with customers, dispatch and family on the table top phones or a payphone in a narrow hallway. Many times having to wait as other drivers ahead of you were tying up all the phones, but many times you could shoot a game of pool while you waited at some of the larger truck stops.

Ahhh, the good ol’ days.

Wait… was it? Would you really want to go back to that again?

The days of waiting for a pay phone to become available at the truckstop are long gone, but so are the days of diesel for a dollar. As the years pass by, we see things change and for many, change is hard. They want to hold onto $1 diesel, but wouldn’t give up their mobile phone for anything. They want to push a big hood against the wind while pouring more and more profit in the tanks instead of upgrading to a new or newer, more efficient truck to improve their bottom line. All the while complaining about rising costs and losing money. 

Nostalgia is good for reminiscing but not necessarily good for business. Remember the “good ol’ days” but move forward with the times.

If you truly want to go back to those times, give up all of the modern conveniences. Keep your 20+ year old truck, run paper logs, use a pay phone (if you can find one), give up toll transponders (and their discounted tolls), give up your scale bypass transponder, give up power windows and power locks, give up radial tires and go back to bias ply (don’t forget to stop and cool them off every couple of hours), go back to 55 MPH, go back to a cabover with it’s tiny coffin-like sleeper, give up your satellite radio and return to cassette tapes.

You can fight change or you can accept it. You can keep some of the nostalgic things but also embrace new technology to benefit your business. For each of us, the “good ol’ days” will be different points in time. It is where we began to learn our trade, honed our skills and started a career, but it was just that, a start. Even then, back at the beginning, you were changing as you learned a new skill, don’t get set in the first lesson you learned as there are always new ones to acquire.

See you down the road,