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Two Auburn firms deal with rising diesel prices

By: Bruce Warren
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With diesel fuel prices climbing to $5 per gallon and above, two Auburn-area firms that run a fleet of trucks are still doing business, but have made adjustments due to rising fuel costs. “On average, we’ve added a 2.5-to five-percent increase on materials delivered,” said Amber Ferreira of Robinson Sand and Gravel on Grass Valley Highway, just south of Atwood Road. “With the price of diesel, we’ve been trying to stay steady with our prices, but the quarries have been charging fuel surcharges on us,” Ferreira said. One adjustment the company made due to higher diesel prices is to schedule two loads out at a time in the same direction, “where as before, that was not considered,” Ferreira said. Don Robinson Sand and Gravel does not want to raise its prices, because that would just contribute to spiraling costs. “We’re still at $95 per hour for trucking,” Ferreira said. “But we know if everyone slowly keeps raising costs, then it will just make things worse. It’s all because of fuel.” While Don Robinson Sand and Gravel runs a fleet of eight trucks and trailers that average about five miles a gallon on a good day, it’s even more challenging for the 13 cement trucks at Chevreaux Concrete at 890 Grass Valley Highway. Those cement mixers only average three to four miles per gallon, and those trucks must keep their engines running. “The problem in our business is these trucks go out to a job site, and they have to keep them running to keep the concrete from hardening” said manager John Mackay of Chevreaux Concrete. When it comes to higher diesel fuel prices, Chevreaux Concrete has increased customer prices. “The higher prices are being passed on to the customer in the form of fuel surcharges, and we’ve had to raise them three times in the last six months,” Mackay said. Chevreaux Concrete has cut back on driver hours, and when the company fills up its stationary 4,000-gallon fuel tank, it costs approximately $20,000, according to Mackay. “We’ve cut way back on the drivers’ hours, which most of it is due to the problems from the mortgage crisis, which has rolled over into the housing market,” Mackay said. Over at Don Robinson Sand and Gravel, it costs about $30,000 to fill up its fuel tank, which lasts about one month, according to Ferreira. Nella Oil, located on Airport Road, and owner of Flyers gas stations did not have anyone available for comment on diesel prices when contacted this week, as spokesman Tom Dwelle is currently on vacation. One Nella Oil employee, who did not want to be identified, said, “We don’t control the prices at the pump.” The Journal’s Bruce Warren can be reached at brucew@goldcountrymedia.com, or comment at AuburnJournal.com.