By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Truck drivers across Brazil plan to block for the second day major highways across the country to protest the rising fuel prices. The Brazilian Truck Drivers Association (ABCAM) argues that 42 percent of their transport costs is fuel and want the government to subsidize taxes placed on diesel fuel for the sector.
“The constant price increase at refineries and the taxes on diesel oil have made the situation impossible for transport carriers. In addition to the almost daily correction of fuel prices made by Petrobrás, which makes it difficult for transporters to forecast the costs, the PIS/Cofins taxes are major obstacles in maintaining the freight value at satisfactory levels,” said ABCAM when announcing the protest.
According to the entity, which claims to have over 500,000 members, the blocking of highways across the country ‘reflect the despair and dissatisfaction of the sector, which have not had their demands heard by the government’.
Although organizers called for a peaceful protest which would not interfere with the flow of traffic along the roads, federal highway police reported that in several regions truck drivers blocked highways with burning tires and allowing only passenger automobiles and buses to go through.
In Rio de Janeiro, for example, protests on BR-101, which connects the states of Rio to Espírito Santo, and on BR-040, in Duque de Caxias just outside the city of Rio demonstrators blocked the highways for several hours.
And protests are likely to continue, with Petrobras announcing on Monday new increase of 0.95 percent in the price of diesel oil at refineries on Tuesday. According to the federal government’s National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuel Agency (ANP) since the beginning of the year the price of diesel fuel has increased by eight percent, while inflation during the same time increased by 0.92 percent.