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Asia Minute: Truck drivers in Thailand are blocking roads to protest fuel prices

The trucking industry is short about 30,000 drivers nationwide, says the American Trucking Associations. Women are joining the ranks to help fill the void.

Truck drivers are continuing to block roads in a major national capital. You may have heard about drivers in Canada protesting government policies against the pandemic. But a smaller protest using similar tactics is taking place in a capital city in Southeast Asia.

Truck drivers in Thailand are angry about gas prices. And they’re taking that anger on the road.

In particular, on the road where the country’s Energy Ministry is headquartered — in Bangkok.

On Tuesday, hundreds of trucks blocked that road, and the protest has spread.

The target of the blockade is the government’s fuel subsidy for diesel.

Diesel prices in Thailand are now capped at 30 baht a liter — the equivalent of about 91 cents.

The truckers’ group known as the Land Transport Federation of Thailand is demanding a cap of 25 baht a liter.

Put this into U.S. measurements for the sake of comparison, and you’re looking at a maximum price of diesel the government is willing to subsidize at about $3.45 a gallon versus what the drivers want — a cap of $2.88.

The head of the truckers’ group says the government has cut the excise tax on oil to help support airlines, but has not done anything to help truck drivers.

The drivers say they’re giving the government a week to meet their demands—or the protests on the road will intensify.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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