XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – The trucking industry, which has already been hit hard by a driver shortage, is taking another hit because of high gas prices. Experts said high fuel costs mean we will see a rise in the prices we pay at stores.

Xenia trucking company Home Run Inc. hauls building materials to big box hardware stores and home builders. What they do is just one example of how important trucks are for shipping goods.

“From bringing your groceries to the store, to your cars to your TV, everything’s brought by a truck,” Home Run Vice President of Operations Tom Milby said. “It’s very vital to our whole lifestyle, so we have to have trucks.”

The average price of diesel in Ohio is $5.24, according to AAA.

Due to rising oil costs, Milby said the company has had to raise their fuel surcharge. It now costs the customer 95 cents per mile, compared to 35 cents a year ago.

“In the 31 years I’ve been here, I have never seen the price hikes like they are right now,” Milby said. “We’ve never had to charge a customer this much money for diesel fuel.”

Wright State Professor of International Business Riad Ajami said it’s going to cost the consumer more money because the trucking industry relies on oil and continues to face a driver shortage.

“When you put these factors together, then there’s likely to be shortages,” Ajami said. “Goods that usually you or I want to find on the shelves, they’re not going to be there.”

Milby said to reduce fuel usage, his company has implemented a no-idling policy, continues to upgrade their trucks, and keeps up with regular tire checks and maintenance.

“In the past, our trucks got five miles a gallon, four to five miles a gallon, now, the newer trucks get seven or eight miles to the gallon,” Milby said. “We’re trying to improve to make our miles to the gallon a lot better.”

Milby said his business hasn’t lost any customers due to the higher cost yet, but does fear that could happen if prices don’t improve.