WALCOTT, Iowa — Dozens of truck drivers lined up their rigs Thursday morning for the day's first contest of the 43rd Truckers Jamboree at the Iowa 80 truck stop in Walcott.
The stop was also a much-needed break for the truckers, who are battling rising prices alongside millions of Americans.
"It's like a domino effect," Eva Knelsen said. "Everybody feels it."
Knelsen, a truck driver in both the U.S. and Canada, is feeling the strain from challenges both on and off the road.
"It's never been as bad as it is now," she said.
Diesel fuel prices are still higher than this time last year. Nationally, the average price for one gallon of diesel is $5.59 as of Thursday evening, according to AAA. That is up from $3.26 last year, according to the organization.
"People don't realize the more we charge for freight," Knelsen said. "It covers our fuel, our maintenance, and the consumer actually pays for that too."
Freight prices per load are not keeping up with inflation either, Knelsen said.
"To haul a load, say, from California back to Toronto, Ontario, we're only seeing prices like $6,000 to $7,000," Knelsen said. "But it should be with the price of fuel nowadays, it should be more like $10,000 to $12,000."
Scott Anderson owns a trucking company in central Iowa, and it noticing the same challenges.
"The fuel surcharge gets passed down to the people at the grocery stores," Anderson said. "I mean they're paying more for their milk, their chicken, their eggs, their meat."
Anderson also does not expect the high prices, across the industry, to fall anytime soon.
"I'd say by fall, we might have higher prices for fuel than we do now," Anderson said.
Knelsen said it is harder to find work worth the trip with the lower freight prices.
Knelsen also said her gas card maxes out at $1,000 per day. That means she is sometimes having to keep driving on a less-than-full tank until the next day when she can fill up again.