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Jon Osburn and OOIDA’s tour truck, the Spirit of the American Trucker, are at the Petro truck stop in Rochelle, Ill. That’s located at Exit 99 off Interstate 39. Stop in, say hi to Jon, and join OOIDA for a $20 discount through July. See the full Spirit Schedule. Air date: July 17, 2018.

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Reform the futures market now, not during the next crisis

I’ve been thinking about a problem lately as I watch fuel prices continue to drop. And it involves vigilance.

We’re watching some pretty basic market forces at work. Due to new methods of extraction in the U.S., we have a greater supply of oil, and the price is reacting.

But market forces aren’t always the controlling factor, no matter what economists, stock brokers and business professionals may tell you.

For a long time, we fought against speculators who were driving up the price of oil and, therefore, of fuel. One even simply wanted to be the first person to pay $1,000 a barrel for oil (he just wanted the notoriety) so he bid it up to that price.

That’s not market demand; it’s artificial demand. And it took billions of dollars out of truckers’ collective pockets, all for no good purpose.

All through that period, the supply of oil was pretty stable, and demand was actually dropping.

In any true market economy, that should mean prices drop. But they did not. Not really until now.

During the period of artificially high prices, a lot of us were calling for reform of the futures market. And some of that was done.

Not nearly enough.

The lack of suffering now is no indication that the problem has gone away, or that we don’t need to solve it.

At some point in the future, this paper tiger will bite us again. We should act now – and reform the futures market – to prevent that from happening.

The consequences if we don’t, both for truckers and the overall economy, will be dire.


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