Saturday, February 28, 2009

Keep on Truckin!

Freakonomics has a fascinating article today, What Do Truckers Have to Do With Country Music, Food Prices, and Politics?, it's an interview with Shane Hamilton author of Trucking Country, a new book on trucking in the USA. The interview raises several fascinating issues related to the truckers themselves and the future or freight transportation. Here's a particularly interesting quote:

It’s not that truckers aren’t affecting food prices at all — clearly the modern food system is utterly dependent on highway transportation powered by fossil fuel, and the costs of transporting food along that chain are borne by food consumers and taxpayers in the long run. Short-term food-price swings, however, are disproportionately absorbed not by end consumers but by those further “up” the food distribution chain — namely, farmers, wholesalers, and transporters.

Hamilton expects that as fuel prices rise there will be less long distance trucking and more use of railroads. Of course this will take some real re-organization of the way railroads work.

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