Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

Others take advantage of fuel surcharge

| May 07, 2011

Surprise, surprise! The $23 flowers deal for Mother’s Day, brought to my attention via email, turned out to exceed $40 by the time I pressed “submit order.” Annoying enough, but one curious element of this little trap (why bother searching elsewhere to save $5 after all that time filling out forms?) was this: a $2.93 fuel surcharge.


In all the online ordering I did at Christmas, I never noticed a one of these. I’ve polled several colleagues, and they haven’t seen them, either. Internet searches on the topic turn up mostly matters directly related to trucking or airlines, not line items clearly passed on to the consumer. UPS has a clear statement of its fuel surcharges, though I’m not sure if an individual who walks into a UPS outlet is clearly notified of this fee when mailing a package.



Fuel costs, like any other cost, are part of doing business. Any operation that stays afloat learns to absorb or pass along any given cost and still make a profit.  As cumbersome as fuel surcharge accounting is in trucking, it’s been mostly a good thing. Unfortunately, the handoff isn’t always fair or complete, as many owner-operators can testify.


Diesel once again is averaging above $4. What have you noticed about businesses outside of trucking resorting to line item charges to recoup this rising cost?