Fuel prices, mostly flat in 2024, dip below $4/gallon, and spot rates follow them down

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, May 1, 2024:

Spot rates, diesel prices down in the latest week

Diesel prices across the U.S. have stayed mostly flat since a mid-February spike in prices led to diesel’s 2024 high mark, based on Energy Information Administration data.

The national average for diesel prices peaked at $4.11 during the weeks ending Feb. 12 and Feb. 19. Since then, fuel prices have hovered around $4 a gallon.

Fuel prices are up about 12 cents from the beginning of the year and down about 7 cents from the same week a year ago.

During the most recent week ending April 29, diesel averaged $3.95 across the U.S. -- the second consecutive week under $4 a gallon.

Prices fell in all regions during the most recent week, with the biggest decrease being seen in the Rocky Mountain region, where prices fell 9.6 cents, followed by the Midwest region, which saw a 5.3-cent decrease.

California remains home to the most expensive fuel prices in the nation, averaging $5.22 per gallon during the most recent week, followed by New England at $4.31 per gallon.

The cheapest diesel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $3.66 per gallon, followed by the Rocky Mountain region at $3.79 per gallon.

Prices in other regions, according to EIA:

  • Central Atlantic -- $4.23
  • Lower Atlantic -- $3.92
  • Midwest -- $3.88
  • West Coast less California -- $4.11

Brokers and carriers negotiating on the spot market seem to have taken a cue from easing fuel outlays -- freight rates fell in tandem with fuel last week, as shown in the illustration:

Truckstop/FTR April 29, 2024, spot market reportAccording to the weekly report from FTR Transportation Intelligence and the Truckstop load board, broker-posted spot rates in the Truckstop system declined by the most in 11 weeks during the week ended April 26 as flatbed and dry van spot rates dropped, and refrigerated rates improved. Dry van spot rates fell to their lowest level in nearly a year, while refrigerated spot rates posted their sharpest gain since mid-January. Both moves were in keeping with seasonal expectations. Flatbed spot rates fell by the most in a week since early February.

ProMiles’ diesel averages during the same week showed prices fall 3.4 cents to $3.97 a gallon.

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According to the ProMiles Fuel Surcharge Index, the most expensive diesel can be found in California at $5.30 per gallon, and the cheapest can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $3.67 per gallon.

[Related: Trucking's 'bloodbath': Did brokers or carriers take the biggest hit?]

Free inspections offered ahead of Roadcheck

The Boss Truck Shop chain is offering free CVSA inspections the week before the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Roadcheck.

Roadcheck is being held this year May 14-16 with a focus on the tractor protection controls in the air system, and alcohol and controlled substance possession.

During the week prior, May 5-12, drivers can get their trucks inspected for free at a Boss Truck Shop as an added layer of protection ahead of the enforcement blitz.

Boss Truck Shop locations can be found here.

[Related: Roadcheck 2024: Inspectors looking for drugs, alcohol, and steady gladhands]

I-15 bridge in Arizona reopens

A major bridge along Interstate 15 in northwestern Arizona is fully open to traffic following reconstruction work, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Crews have finished I-15 Bridge No. 1 over the Virgin River Gorge near the community of Littlefield. The structure carries thousands of vehicles per day on two lanes in each direction. 

Work on the bridge, which started in early 2021, included replacing the abutments, support piers and deck of the bridge, creating an improved structure designed to carry traffic for decades to come, ADOT said.

As part of the I-15 corridor linking Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California, Bridge No. 1 now has a new pavement surface and pavement markings. ADOT’s work also has added new guardrails and signs along a two-mile stretch of I-15 that includes the upgraded bridge.

Over the past decade ADOT has completed a series of improvement projects, including pavement deck repairs, on several I-15 bridges along the state’s 29-mile stretch of the highway. Projects in the area are challenging due to the steep, winding canyons of the Virgin River Gorge, the department noted.

[Related: Arizona I-40 rougher than a corncob? You bet]

TCA launches new carrier recognition program

The Truckload Carriers Association announce Tuesday a new driver satisfaction awards program called TCA Drivers’ Choice Awards – The Elite Fleets.

This brand-new program will celebrate and recognize the best carrier workplaces in the North American trucking industry based on truck driver feedback and satisfaction. Produced by TCA and in partnership with University of Denver’s Transportation & Supply Chain Institute, the TCA Drivers' Choice Awards will highlight those carriers who provide exceptional workplace experiences for their company drivers and independent contractors.

“Recognizing and celebrating the best carrier workplaces in the North American trucking industry not only acknowledges the efforts of these companies but also promotes a culture of excellence and driver satisfaction within the industry,” said TCA President Jim Ward. “By partnering with a reputable institution like the University of Denver, the program ensures that the surveys and scoring are conducted impartially and with a high level of professionalism.”

Only TCA carrier members can participate in the new program. Nominations will open later this year, and the top scoring carriers will be celebrated at TCA’s 2025 convention, which is taking place March 15-18 in Phoenix, Arizona. After being nominated, carriers and their drivers will be asked to complete surveys that will be administered, overseen and scored by the University of Denver’s Transportation & Supply Chain Institute.

In preparing for this new initiative, TCA surveyed its membership for their feedback and formed four working groups who helped provide input on the program's structure, the attributes associated with satisfied drivers, and many other aspects of the program. This has truly been a membership led effort in creating TCA Drivers' Choice Awards.

EpicVue, TruckRight and Samsara and the presenting co-sponsors for the new program.

[Related: Enter Overdrive's Trucker of the Year award program for 2024]