Diesel prices continue to drop, hit 2-year low, as rates tick up | I-17 closure upcoming

Updated Jun 2, 2024

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, May 29, 2024:

Diesel's national average hits 2-year low

After more than two years with diesel prices mostly at or above $4 a gallon, even above $5 for several months, the nation’s average diesel prices are now back to where they were before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The Energy Information Administration's weekly report showed the U.S.’ national average for a gallon of on-highway diesel is $3.76, the lowest since the week ending Jan. 17, 2022, when prices averaged $3.73 a gallon.

Since the last time prices were at this level, diesel spiked in late February 2022 and spent much of the rest of the year averaging more than $5 a gallon. Then, in 2023, diesel remained above $4 a gallon for much of the year. This year, prices have been hovering around $4 a gallon and now are on the sixth consecutive week of declines.

During the most recent week, prices fell in all but one region -- the Central Atlantic, where prices jumped by nine-tenths of a cent.

The largest decreases during the week were seen in California, where prices fell by 6.4 cents, and the Midwest, which saw a 5.2-cent decrease.

With its decrease, California’s average dropped below $5 a gallon to $4.99. The next highest average price is in New England at $4.15 a gallon.

The cheapest fuel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $3.48 a gallon, followed by the Midwest at $3.63 a gallon.

On the spot rates front during the same week, FTR and the Truckstop load board reported another slight increase even with diesel's fall, following last week’s slight rates bump during International Roadcheck week.

According to FTR and Truckstop, the total broker-posted rate increased 1.7 cents after increasing about 3 cents during the previous week, according to FTR and Truckstop. Rates, which moved higher for all equipment types, were 5% below the same 2023 week and more than 7% below the five-year average for the week. Spot rates for van equipment are tracking more closely with comparable 2023 weeks than are rates for flatbed, which – while stable – have not shown any signs of their usual spring peak.According to FTR and Truckstop, the total broker-posted rate increased 1.7 cents after increasing about 3 cents during the previous week, according to FTR and Truckstop. Rates, which moved higher for all equipment types, were 5% below the same 2023 week and more than 7% below the five-year average for the week. Spot rates for van equipment are tracking more closely with comparable 2023 weeks than are rates for flatbed, which – while stable – have not shown any signs of their usual spring peak.

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Diesel prices in other regions, according to EIA:

  • Central Atlantic -- $4.12
  • Lower Atlantic -- $3.77
  • Rocky Mountain -- $3.71
  • West Coast less California -- $3.98

ProMiles’ diesel averages during the same week showed prices fall 2.7 cents to $3.83 a gallon.

According to the ProMiles Fuel Surcharge Index, the most expensive diesel can be found in California at $5.12 per gallon, and the cheapest can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $3.51 per gallon.

[Related: Fuel prices continue to fall, but Roadcheck rates bump fails to materialize]

I-17 closure planned this weekend

Truckers traveling through the Phoenix area this weekend should plan for extra time to get through the area, as I-17 southbound lanes will be closed for pavement work.

The Arizona Department of Transportation announced the closure is scheduled in north Phoenix May 31 through June 3.

The department said drivers should allow for extra travel time and stay on the designated detour route while I-17 SB is closed between Loop 303 and Happy Valley Road. The detour will follow Loop 303 west, Lake Pleasant Parkway south and Happy Valley Road east back to I-17.

ADOT is advising drivers to not use other local streets as alternate routes. “This is a recipe for longer delays and inconvenience for all,” ADOT said. “The posted detour is the most efficient way to move traffic through the area near the closure.”

Taking Loop 303 to I-10 in the West Valley is an option, especially for truck drivers and for those continuing toward California, Tucson and parts of the Valley reached through downtown Phoenix, the department added.

Crews are continuing a much-needed project to improve the ride on I-17. This is the third of an expected four weekends of work on this project. They are removing a top layer of older, worn asphalt pavement, before advancing to work to smooth the remaining concrete surface through a process called diamond grinding. While there are times when freeway improvement work can be done without closing all lanes, these closures allow crews to safely and effectively remove the surface asphalt and clear as much dust and debris as possible before the stretch reopens to traffic.

[Related: Owner-operators name worst roads in America, take two]

Trucker Path adds medical prescription card to offerings

Trucker Path on Wednesday announced that app users can now get discounts on prescriptions using the Trucker Path Discount Prescription Card, now available for free to app users via the Trucker Path Marketplace.

“The million professional truck drivers who rely upon the Trucker Path app can now save on their prescription medications for free,” said Chris Oliver, CMO at Trucker Path. “We’ve already helped volumes of drivers find affordable health coverage via TruckerPathHealth.com. With this new offering they can now start saving up to 80% on prescriptions today. It’s just another way Trucker Path is addressing the everyday needs of commercial truck drivers we all rely upon.”

The Trucker Path Discount Prescription Card also includes an online pharmacy locator to accommodate truckers while at home or on the road. There is no cost to receive the card or access discounted prices.

The card can be used at more than 65,000 pharmacies across the U.S., including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Kroger, and Albertsons drug store locations.

Other benefits of the card include:

  • Coverage for almost all medications
  • A look-up feature to find medications and discounted prices before you go to the pharmacy
  • No requirement to provide personal information
  • Simple online ordering by submitting the savings card and your prescription to a participating pharmacy

“Partnering with Trucker Path to offer drivers discounted prescriptions helps fulfill our shared commitment to help truckers reduce costs,” said Greg Helmich, vice president of insurance at SASid, the nationally licensed insurance provider representing health care options offered to Trucker Path users. “We’re proud to be a part of improving life on the road for users of the Trucker Path app.”

Combined with Trucker Path/Teladoc telehealth programs, drivers can now access doctors, pharmacies, and discounted prescriptions while on the road. More information is available online here.