Towing company faces soaring diesel fuel prices


WAUKESHA, Wis. – From the smallest sedan to the biggest tractor-trailer, drivers of all kinds are feeling the pinch at the pumps as gas prices remain high.

This is especially true for truckers who need to fill their tanks with diesel fuel. According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of diesel in Wisconsin is now $4.88 per gallon, down from an average of $2.94 per gallon a year ago. Nationally, the price is even higher, at $5.31 per gallon.

These price increases are felt by Mike Bell, owner of Waukesha-based Complete Towing and Recovery. It was a challenge to fill his fleet of six tow trucks.

“You don’t really notice it on a daily basis, but when you get your bill at the end of the month and you normally pay $4,000 a month in fuel, and now it’s $6,000 a month, you have to figure out how you are going to make up for that extra money,” Bell said as he drove a route from Waukesha to Cudahy on Monday.

Bell added that each trip to fill a truck full of diesel now costs between $300 and $400. As a company that operates 24/7 and serves all of southeast Wisconsin, it’s hard to find ways to adjust operations. Bell tried to plan routes accordingly to maximize fuel efficiency.

“The best way is if you’re heading to Milwaukee, you just hope you get something in return,” Bell said. “You try to route it so that the driver, when leaving, comes back. That’s about the best way we can try to plan while we’re trying to save.

Bell said it was able to absorb the price increase for the time being, but was concerned about the long-term impact it could have on its business.

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