Somebody named Zeeda Andrews is apparently going to get a bunch of truckers together in Doswell, Virginia. They will then start a convoy up I-95, where they will drive around the Beltway, thus crippling traffic in D.C. and causing our shutdown government to respect liberty and freedom and the Constitution etc. etc.
My experience with big rig trucking is limited to watching episodes of B.J. and the Bear when I was a kid, but I do know the D.C. area pretty well, and I have access to the internet, and I also have a calculator, and that’s how I know the trucker Armageddon that the news folk are clamoring for will not happen.
The economics of this trucker rally make no sense. A truck driver might very well hate Obama. He might hate Congress. He might spend his weekends out in the woods with his militia buddies pretending that Red Dawn happened. But the last thing he’s going to do is piss money away, and that exactly what a trucker protest would do.
Nobody uses trucks to drive to the grocery store or to pick the kids up from soccer. If you see a truck on the road, somebody is paying that driver and that truck to take something from one place to another, but that won’t be what’s happening here. This is apparently an all-volunteer effort from independent owners and operators, who know that every mile out on the road without hauling something is costing them money.
The cost of diesel fuel per gallon at the Flying J Truck Stop near the meeting place in Doswell, Virginia is $3.68. So it would cost $1104 to fill up two 150 gallon tanks. The average miles per gallon (MPG) of a big rig truck is 5 miles per every gallon of fuel. It will cost drivers 74 cents a mile to simply be on the road.
And let’s consider exactly where they are. Doswell, Virginia is 72 miles south of the Springfield Interchange, which is where I-95 meets I-495, better known as the Beltway. At 74 cents a mile, it will cost a trucker $53.28 just to get to the Beltway, presuming that the traffic on I-95 between Doswell and Springfield will allow the truckers to drive 55 mph, which it won’t. I-95 has just three lanes going north for 50 miles until Woodbridge. It’s always a parking lot. This will cause the fuel efficiency to drop down even more, which means more money down the drain.
Their other option is to take Route 1 north, where they can get on the Beltway at the Route 1 exit, which is about two miles away from the Alexandria, Virginia headquarters of the American Trucking Association, who want nothing to do with this idiocy. Route 1 will be no better, because it goes straight through the business districts of a series of Mayberry towns. Either way, there will be lots of idling, which burns 1.5 gallons per hour, costing the drivers $5.52 per hour.
Once they get to the Beltway, they will encounter what is universally known as some of the worst traffic in the country. More idling. More money lost. Plus the knowledge that nobody sharing the Beltway will be able to tell the difference between your patriotic act of rebellion and any average Friday in Prince George’s County.
But let’s say the stars align and the truckers manage to get the entire convoy up and running at 55 mph all around the Beltway. This 64 mile trip will cost each driver $47.62 and will cost them around 70 minutes. If they do an entire 8 hour shift of driving around the Beltway, presuming that they will be able to maintain speeds of 55 MPH (which they won’t), it will cost each driver $328. 58. If they do the entire weekend, with 8 hour shifts of convoying around the Beltway at 55 MPH (which they won’t), the cost will be $985.73. This is not including food, lodging, finding a place to park while they watch themselves on the news, etc. etc.
These fuel and time costs are acceptable parts of doing business, providing that somebody is paying you to haul something, and presumably nobody is paying these truckers to drive around in a circle as they heroically make no difference whatsoever. There might be a few truckers yutzing around, but this won’t be Convoy come to life. I can’t imagine there are a lot of truck owners who would rather spend $2,000 accomplishing nothing instead of earning $5,000 doing their jobs.