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THE costs of supermarket staples such as fruit and vegetables are tipped to rise sharply as increasing diesel fuel prices hit the trucking industry.
And the community has been told it will simply have to wear the price increases.
Victorian Transport Association Philip Lovel said freight and logistics companies would struggle to recoup costs and shoppers would have to do the best they could.
"We have got to be sensible about this. There is nothing we can do about it," he said.
"The community will have to be understanding about this, as will our customers."
Transport and logistics companies should negotiate with their customers to charge a fuel levy on top of their normal transport prices, Mr Lovel said.
"Transport operators cannot continue to operate without a fuel levy ... and it has got to be passed on down the chain."
David Purchase, who owns a trucking company of 21 vehicles that travel interstate, said it was hard to raise prices fast enough to cover the sky-rocketing cost of diesel fuel.
"Food prices are going to go through the roof. They have to. It's going to effect everyone, and quickly," he said.
"The costs have to be passed on to the customer. It's the average household who's going to be hurt."
RACV spokesman David Cumming said high diesel prices - the average was 171.8c per litre yesterday - were due to the huge demand in China and India.
Mr Cumming said the earthquake in China was expected to increase demand for diesel, but the biggest diesel consumers in Australia, such as big mining and trucking companies, were given a rebate.
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May 23, 2008
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