Trucking is one of the most crucial industries in the United States of America, it keeps the country running and people satisfied with the timely delivery of goods in a country as big in size as the USA. However, the industry has taken a downward trend for a long time and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the impact.
If this was not enough, the Biden administration’s overarching green push coupled with the innate ignorance of the Democrats regarding Truckers as well as all of Middle America have broken their backs. The Trucking sector is already becoming less and less profitable for the truckers, and the Biden administration, instead of looking at their concerns and providing incentives to them, has come up with the green push which will be the last straw.
The green push in the near future will force truckers to switch to low emission and then to zero-emission technology-based trucks. However, given the financial situation, the sudden transition will be painful and will lead to many being unemployed.
Analysts at fleet management platform ‘Keep Truckin’ say there was a 25% drop in the number of trucks on the road each day since March 2020, and a 20% drop in the number of miles driven, and federal statistics show at least 88,000 truckers lost their jobs in April as businesses shuttered.
There are few options and the situation is worsening every passing day. The reason for this is very apparent, while the Democrats are not at all concerned with the lack of opportunities and grave unemployment in the many of the US states in Middle America, the green push and steps like banning fracking as well as stopping the Keystone XL pipeline have further depleted any hope for job opportunities in the near future.
The rising rates of unemployment in these states was the reason that made Trucking a viable job option. However, it has also suffered a lot and the money it pays has not kept up with the inflation and cost of living for the truck drivers. A Business Insider analysis earlier showed that median wages for truck drivers have decreased 21% on average since 1980. In some areas, they’ve declined as much as 50%.
A few drivers told The Washington Post that they earn $100,000, but many said their annual pay is less than $50,000 (meanwhile, government statistics say median pay for the industry is $42,000). As for the bonuses, driver Daniel Gollnick said they are a “complete joke” because of all the strings attached.
In such a situation when the truckers are barely breaking even, any forced legislation for replacing their Trucks with low-emission technology-driven Trucks will not be economically viable. This has not crossed Biden’s mind, as the Democrats have traditionally not cared about the concerns of an average working-class American.
This has been highlighted by a fellow Democrat, Andrew Yang. Last year, Andrew Yang said the Democratic party had some real soul searching to do, even if Joe Biden does manage to become president. He called out Democrats for being ‘coastal urban elites’, totally oblivious of the concerns and problems of people in Middle America.
The Green energy push has already started to become concerning for the Trucking industry. Even during the Trump administration, last year in July 15 states and the District of Columbia announced a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU), to develop action plans to ensure 100 per cent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales are zero-emission by 2050 with an interim target of 30 per cent zero-emission sales by 2030. California already has enacted regulations requiring all trucks and vans sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2045.
States signing the MoU are California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. This is going to expand to other states too. Andrew Yang has suggested an even worse situation in the near future and that is automation, which will only accelerate with a push towards low emission to zero-emission electric vehicles.
Andrew Yang has said that full automation of trucking is expected to net $125 billion in savings from labour costs and fuel efficiencies, but that windfall won’t go to truck drivers. This goes on to say that the future is a lose-lose situation for the Truckers, who have for the longest time been the lifeline of the USA.
The problem here is not that the government is eyeing green energy sources as alternatives for fossil fuels, but the fact that they are doing it with broad sweeps and without considering the problems of unemployment and poverty that different working communities will face due to these actions. The Biden administration is willing to put roadblocks in front of Truckers who are already just breaking even with the money they make, but not provide alternative job opportunities or incentives for them to make the necessary changes.
This story validates the comments made by Andrew Yang– that the Democrats have been perceived as the party of coastal elites and these latest developments are only proving these perceptions right.