Trucker drivers would prefer cheaper gasoline, but appreciated a free lunch while passing through northwest Iowa today. Gary Hansen, with Great West Casualty Company, helped organize the event in a Sam’s Club parking lot in South Sioux City.

"We put up a big tent and the Cattlemen’s Association came to cook hamburgers and give away Coke," Hansen said. A number of truckers were surprised with the free lunch, which was scheduled from 10am-2p.m. during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

Hansen says some drivers passed the exit, apparently refusing to believe that the food was actually free. He says that changed when a few drivers stopped and started spreading the word. "Then we start to get a lot of them to come in…that just tells us that maybe they aren’t appreciated as much as they ought to be throughout the year."

Truckers have been struggling with the price of fuel. Today, Triple-A reports the average price of diesel at $4.28 a gallon. "I had a (driver) tell me last weekend that trucking’s not that much fun anymore," Hansen said. "He was still trying to stay positive, but it’s getting harder every day."

Many independent truckers report that they’re barely breaking even in light of fuel costs. A year ago on this date, the average price for diesel was $2.92 a gallon.