Nearly 70 percent of trucking business leaders believes that fuel prices are placing the business at risk, according to an international survey of 1,200 trucking industry leaders in the U.S., U.K., Canada and France. The survey, commissioned by GE Capital Solutions, a provider of financing for the commercial trucking industry, also reveals that driver shortages (69 percent) and excessive regulation (40 percent) are top threats to business performance. The study’s other findings include: Nearly nine in ten trucking executives believe fuel prices will increase over the next 12 months, and report that fuel costs represent about one-third of their overall costs. Only 7 percent of trucking businesses, mainly in the U.S., are currently using alternative fuels.Trucking executives say they will look to offset current and future fuel expenses by passing costs to shippers, tightening supplier management (43 percent in the U.S.), seeking alternative green initiatives (34 percent in the U.S.), or leasing trucks to free cash flow (14 percent in the U.S.).One in four trucking executives in the U.S. cite maintenance and insurance costs as the best areas for cost savings, followed by salaries and general efficiencies.Reducing hefty maintenance fees and improving cash flow are driving decisions to lease versus own their trucks. Nearly half (47 percent) of international businesses claim that purchasing new trucks could greatly reduce business costs and save management time. Two thirds of U.S. trucking businesses intend to acquire new units in the next twelve months. One fifth (22 percent) believe the driver shortage will impact their ability to deliver goods on-time. More paid leave was cited as the number one driver recruiting and retention method followed by reducing paperwork and improving cab facilities.