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Trucking industry feels pain of rising diesel prices

While most Americans are gasping at gas prices, truckers are dealing with the price of diesel. Diesel, which cost less than $4 per gallon last month, has jumped to a record high of more than $5 per gallon — an increase that's slamming small transport companies.

"If prices stay this way, a lot of people will be out of business," truck driver William Lytle told CBS News. "It digs into your profit."

Lytle said the cost of filling a truck that can hold up to 200 gallons of diesel means profits have evaporated.

Truck driver Japjeet Singh recently purchased a second truck, which he can no longer afford.

"Whatever I earn, I'm just putting on the truck and the drivers," Singh told CBS News.

Diesel in Virginia is above $5 per gallon, but in California it's more than $6. Even as prices for regular gas stabilized this week, diesel prices are expected to creep higher.

The steep prices are trickling down through the economy. More than 70% of freight is transported via trucks, according to the American Trucking Associations. Now, fuel surcharges are increasingly affecting the prices of everything from groceries to building supplies.

"Big fleets, small fleets, they all use diesel," Bob Costello, chief economist for American Trucking Associations, told CBS News. "Nearly everything when we go to a store or buy it online, all of that comes on a truck. That means I think all of us, as consumers, can expect higher prices generally."

The increase in prices is likely behind diesel thefts reported in California and Texas, which were caught on security cameras.

"They had a trap door in their vehicle," said Jerry Thayil, whose family's gas station experienced a gas theft. "They would put a hose down there and suck it out with a pump."

This article originally appeared on CBS News

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