BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore trucker James Green says making a living as an independent truck driver has been difficult lately.
“I’m making enough just to pay for gas and possibly pay the bills on my truck,” he said.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Tornado Watch Canceled For Maryland, Severe Thunderstorm Warning Remains
High gas prices are making his trips hauling goods up and down the east coast much more expensive than they used to be. He told WJZ that he can only afford to pay for his business and fuel expenses now and not much else.
“I used to pay $600 to fill my truck up. Now I pay $1,200,” said Green.
Some drivers are also getting paid less to drive now. Green said his rate-per-mile is negotiated with a broker each time he takes a trip. Over the last three months, those rates have been significantly lower.
“I used to drive down to Lakeland, Florida from Baltimore, Maryland. I used to get $3000 for that. Now I can’t even get $2000,” he said.READ MORE: Hogan Vetoes 18 Bills, Including Ballot Signature Measure
Green is now working more hours, sometimes up to 16 a day, and is also trying to take on more, shorter trips. But he says it is exhausting work and not a sustainable way to run his business.
“The rates just need to come up with the gas prices,” he said. “If the gas prices go up, the rates need to come up. That’s all I would like to see.”
Norita Taylor with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said that the rates truckers get paid are affected by demand.
“It’s a trend as demand is falling,” Taylor said in an email to WJZ “For a while, there was very high demand. It’s common to go in cycles but COVID certainly played a role in the higher demand.”
Green said he is calling on other truckers to try to help him change the rates they get paid.MORE NEWS: War Of The Words: Governor Hogan And Mayor Scott Spar Over Baltimore Crime
“All I’m doing now, trying to reach out to all the other truck drivers. Everyone needs to just reach out together as far as truck drivers and put a stop to this.”