EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – It is the lifeblood of our economy, fueling planes, boats, buses and trucks. This week, gas prices are soaring, but the cost of diesel is also reaching record highs.

According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of diesel is now $5.54. One year ago, it was $3.11. The average in New York is even higher sitting at $6.38 per gallon.

NewsChannel 9 checked in with a Cavalier Transportation in East Syracuse to see how it’s managing the pain we’re all feeling at the pump.

Terminal Manager, Al Giamartino, has been in the trucking business for 35 years. He was behind the wheel for 32 of those.

“I’ve always liked meeting different people and driving. You get to see a lot of different things.”

AL GIAMARTINO, TERMINAL MANAGER, CAVALIER TRANSPORTATION

However, what Giamartino doesn’t like seeing in his leadership role: record high prices at the pump!

With the average cost for a gallon of diesel now at $6.19 in the Syracuse area, it costs Cavalier more than $1,200 to fill up just one of its 200 gallon trucks.

“It impacts everybody, especially at Cavalier,” Giamartino said. “An average tractor trailer gets 7 to 8 miles in a gallon. Now, prices are up to $6.00 a gallon, obviously if you do the math, we have to compensate for that.”

Like most truck companies, Cavalier has implemented a fuel surcharge for businesses they transport goods for. Giamartino says the higher the cost of fuel, the more his customers have to pay.

You have to be careful with that because obviously if your prices get too high, you become competitive and another company will take your business away, but if you don’t bring it up and make the money, you’re going to lose the business anyway.

AL GIAMARTINO, TERMINAL MANAGER, CAVALIER TRANSPORTATION

Below is a breakdown of average diesel prices for areas across Central New York:

  • NATIONAL AVERAGE: Diesel (record high): $5.54 (up 22 cents from last week)
  • NEW YORK: Diesel (record high): $6.38 (up 45 cents from last week)
  • ITHACA: Diesel: $6.33 (up 44 cents from last week)
  • SYRACUSE: Diesel: $6.19 (up 40 cents from last week)
  • UTICA-ROME: Diesel: $6.26 (up 43 cents from last week)
  • WATERTOWN-FORT DRUM: Diesel: $6.29 (up 41 cents from last week)

AAA tells NewsChannel 9 diesel fuel prices have been higher than regular-grade gasoline almost continuously since September 2004.

This trend is a break from the previous historical pattern of diesel fuel prices usually being lower than gasoline prices except in cold winters when demand for heating oil pushed diesel fuel prices higher.

There are three main reasons why diesel fuel prices have been higher than regular gasoline prices in recent years: the high demand for diesel fuel and other distillate fuels, the transition to less-polluting, lower-sulfur diesel fuels affecting diesel fuel production and distribution costs, and the federal excise tax for on-highway diesel fuel being 6 cents per gallon higher than the federal excise tax on gasoline.

Statement: AAA of Central/Western New York

“It’s tough for everybody to even make a living and now it’s tougher with this going on, including our employees because it costs us more just like everybody else. I think it’s going to make it tougher for everyone going down the road unless things calm down a little bit.”

AL GIAMARTINO, TERMINAL MANAGER, CAVALIER TRANSPORTATION

Cavalier Transportation in East Syracuse is actively hiring, specifically for the night shift. If you’re interested, click here for more career information.