Diesel prices dip but remain above $5.50 national average | I-81 closures this month

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, June 1, 2022:

Diesel prices slide for third consecutive week

Diesel fuel prices fell for the third straight week during the week ending May 30, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, though each fall has been slight and from unprecedented highs well above $5 per gallon.

Diesel’s national average dropped by 3.2 cents to $5.54 per gallon, according to EIA. The decrease was spurred by declines in all regions across the country except on the West Coast, where prices increased by an average of 5.3 cents.

The largest decreases were seen in the New England and Central Atlantic regions, where prices dropped by 14.5 and 10 cents, respectively.

The nation's most expensive diesel can be found in California at $6.542 per gallon, followed by New England at $6.23 per gallon.

The cheapest fuel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $5.18 per gallon, followed by the Midwest region at $5.25 per gallon.

Prices in other regions, according to EIA, are:

  • Central Atlantic -- $6.23
  • Lower Atlantic -- $5.55
  • Rocky Mountain -- $5.49
  • West Coast less California -- $5.67

ProMiles’ numbers during the same week saw fuel prices fall by 6.2 cents, bringing its national average to $5.42 per gallon.

According to ProMiles’ Fuel Surcharge Index, the most expensive diesel can be found in California at $6.42 per gallon, and the cheapest can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $5.18 per gallon. 

[Related: Who is to blame for record diesel prices as U.S. nears 'energy emergency'?]

Great Dane recalling some flatbeds for missing certification plates

Great Dane Trailers is recalling approximately 72 model year 2019 Freedom flatbed trailers, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

The recall says the trailers may have been produced without a rear impact guard (RIG) certification plate. As such, the trailers don’t comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard numbers 223, "Rear Impact Guards", and 224, "Rear Impact Protection."

Dealers will provide new RIG certification plates stamped with the trailer date of manufacture, free of charge. Owners can contact Great Dane's customer service at 1-877-369-3493. NHTSA’s recall number is 22V-328.

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I-81 lane closures planned in Virginia

The Virginia Department of Transportation said construction on part of I-81 this month will cause some inconvenience for truckers and other travelers.

Construction to improve I-81 northbound at exit 17 in Abingdon will create 24-hour lane closures on multiple days during two weeks in June, weather permitting, VDOT says. Abington is located between Roanoke and Knoxville, Tennessee, in southwest Virginia.

The first lane closure will begin at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 5, and will remain in place until 6 a.m. Thursday, June 9. The closure is necessary to replace the left travel lane and left shoulder of the northbound bridge deck above Route 75.

The second lane closure will begin at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 12, and will remain in place until 6 a.m. Thursday, June 16. This closure will replace the right travel lane and right shoulder of the northbound bridge deck.

Local traffic is advised to seek alternate routes to avoid interstate traffic backups, which have the potential to be significant during peak afternoon travel times. Motorists traveling through the area should research alternate routes to avoid congestion or travel through the work zone during non-peak travel times such as mornings and overnight hours.

[Related: Planned closures on I-94 and I-496 in Michigan starting this week]

USA Truck enhances owner-op program

USA Truck this week announced enhancements for its owner-operators that the company says will increase their earning power and put bonus money in their hands faster, among other features.

One of the big changes USA Truck has made is a fast payout in its sign-on bonus. For owner-operators who join the company now, they will receive a $10,000 sign-on bonus paid in two installments of $5,000 at first dispatch and another $5,000 at 90 days on the job.

"We also have 100 percent pass-through on fuel surcharge on every load, plus we have increased our fuel discount by 60 percent to meet the demand of record high fuel prices,” said Blair Ewell, USA Truck's Senior Vice President of Truckload. “Through our self-dispatch platform, our owner-operators pick where they want to run and how they want to run.”

Ewell adds that the company's program offers operators the freedom to choose between spot-quoted freight and contracted loads when the market fluctuates. "These features ensure they have the independence and professional balance they're looking for," he said.

Other highlights of USA Truck's owner-operator program include revenue potential of up to $225,000 or more per year with earnings of $4,500 per week or higher. The company also has increased its monthly safety performance bonus by 2% and offers a $4,000 referral bonus.

USA Truck helps those starting out with plates, permits and orientation pay covered up front and no trailer fees or hidden expenses.  

[Related: Guaranteed pay as a solution to trucking's 'unknowns']