Fuel prices spike to nearly $4/gallon | Spot rates up, though demand picture mixed

Updated Feb 13, 2022

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022:

Fuel prices near $4/gallon national average

With a 10.5-cent jump during the week ending Feb. 7, the U.S.’ national average for diesel is the closest it’s been to $4 since the week ending May 5, 2014.

The U.S.’ average for a gallon of on-highway diesel is now $3.951, the highest since it was $3.964 nearly eight years ago. Diesel prices haven’t topped $4 a gallon since a four-week stretch in 2014 from the week ending Feb. 24 though the week ending March 17.

Prices increased in all regions across the country last week, with the most significant increase being seen in the Lower Atlantic region, where prices jumped by 13.5 cents.

The nation’s most expensive diesel can be found in California at $4.949 per gallon, followed by the West Coast less California at $4.25 per gallon.

The cheapest fuel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $3.73 per gallon, followed by Midwest at $3.808 per gallon.

Prices in other regions, according to DOE, are:

  • New England – $3.947
  • Central Atlantic – $4.098
  • Lower Atlantic – $3.896
  • Rocky Mountain – $3.861

ProMiles’ numbers during the same week saw fuel prices increase by 7.7 cents, bringing its national average to $3.737 per gallon.

According to ProMiles’ Fuel Surcharge Index, the most expensive diesel can be found in California at $4.815 per gallon, and the cheapest can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $3.581 per gallon.

Seasonal conditions hitting spot market this week with freight volume declines | After a fairly flat-to-down first month of the year on the spot market, truck postings to Truckstop.com rose 12.7% last week, according to the weekly report from the load board and FTR Transportation Intelligent. The Market Demand Index -- computing the ratio of loads to trucks in the Truckstop.com system -- fell sharply, but remained higher than levels recorded prior to the holidays. The refrigerated MDI rose, though, with dry van sitting fairly level, perhaps accounting for what was a 1.6% average spot rates increase last. Flatbed MDI, meanwhile, saw a sharp decline with load postings falling 13%, the first week-to-week decline of the year for the segment. At once, flatbed load postings were nearly 13% higher than the same week last year and about 173% above the five-year average. Total rates remained nearly 23% higher than the same week last year. Excluding fuel, rates were about 16% higher. Dry van rates posted a modest 2-cent/mile increase while refrigerated rates rose nearly 7 cent/mile.Seasonal conditions hitting spot market this week with freight volume declines | After a fairly flat-to-down first month of the year on the spot market, truck postings to Truckstop.com rose 12.7% last week, according to the weekly report from the load board and FTR Transportation Intelligent. The Market Demand Index -- computing the ratio of loads to trucks in the Truckstop.com system -- fell sharply, but remained higher than levels recorded prior to the holidays. The refrigerated MDI rose, though, with dry van sitting fairly level, perhaps accounting for what was a 1.6% average spot rates increase last. Flatbed MDI, meanwhile, saw a sharp decline with load postings falling 13%, the first week-to-week decline of the year for the segment. At once, flatbed load postings were nearly 13% higher than the same week last year and about 173% above the five-year average. Total rates remained nearly 23% higher than the same week last year. Excluding fuel, rates were about 16% higher. Dry van rates posted a modest 2-cent/mile increase while refrigerated rates rose nearly 7 cent/mile.

TCA asks for public input on Highway Angel of the Year voting

The Truckload Carriers announced that for the first time in the program’s history, the winner of its Highway Angel of the Year Award will be chosen by the public.

Since its inception in 1997, TCA’s Highway Angel program has recognized professional truck drivers for the exemplary courtesy and courage they have shown others while on North America’s roadways. TCA, the award’s presenting sponsor EpicVue, and supporting sponsor DriverFacts, recognize more than 75 recipients a year, with nearly 1,300 to date.

Highway Angels are nominated by their employers, fellow truck drivers, or the motorists they’ve assisted and saved. 

Beginning Feb. 8, the public is encouraged to cast their vote for the truck driver or team who best embodies the spirit of the program. More information on the nominations of the three finalists and voting is available here. The deadline to vote is Friday, Feb. 18.

The finalists for the 2021 Highway Angel of the Year Award are:

  • Christopher Lloyd, Airline Transportation Specialists, stopped at an accident where a car erupted in flames. After calling 911, Lloyd used tools from his truck to gain access to the victims, extinguish the fire, and ultimately save their lives.
  • Calvin and Corey Williams, Armellini Express Lines, Inc., witnessed a vehicle go down a steep embankment in below freezing temperatures. After contacting 911, the twin brothers climbed down the embankment and, after finding victims with serious injuries, they stayed for four hours until help arrived at the remote area. 
  • Addis Tekelu, CKJ Transport, while driving at night observed a vehicle go off the road and into a wooded area. After contacting 911, he followed the tire tracks until he found the vehicle where the driver was trapped, and then stayed with her until emergency services arrived.

The winner of the 2021 Highway Angel of the Year Award will be announced during TCA’s Annual Convention, Truckload 2022: Las Vegas, on the morning of Tuesday, March 22 at the Wynn Las Vegas. In addition to being recognized at TCA’s Annual Convention and receiving a personalized crystal truck, the winner receives a complimentary EpicVue satellite TV package that includes a 24-inch flat screen TV, a DVR, and a one-year subscription to over 100 channels of DirecTV programming. The previous HIghway Angel of the Year winner was Royford Burris, whose acceptance speech was documented in part in this story announcing the win.  

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