Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, July 13, 2022:
Diesel prices on the decline nationwide
After a technical outage of the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration’s system that tracks diesel prices weekly prevented weekly updates from June 13 through July 8, the agency’s systems are back online and are showing a positive trend for owner-ops over the last few weeks.
Diesel prices across the country are down 24.2 cents on average over the period after hitting a new record high of $5.81 during the week ending June 20. Prices fell 2.7 cents during the week ending June 27, followed by a 10.8-cent drop during the week ending July 4.
During the most recent week ending July 11, prices fell another 10.7 cents to a national average of $5.57 per gallon, the lowest national average since the end of May.
Prices fell in all regions during the most recent week, with the most significant decrease being seen in the Lower Atlantic region, where prices were down 11.8 cents.
The nation’s most expensive fuel is in California at $6.67 per gallon, followed by the West Coast less California at $5.94 per gallon.
The cheapest diesel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $5.22, followed by the Lower Atlantic region at $5.48.
Prices in other regions, according to EIA, are:
- New England -- $5.82
- Central Atlantic -- $5.87
- Midwest -- $5.54
- Rocky Mountain -- $5.67
ProMiles’ numbers during the same week saw fuel prices on a similar trajectory, falling by 8.4 cents, bringing its national average to $5.56 per gallon.
According to ProMiles’ Fuel Surcharge Index, the most expensive diesel can be found in California at $6.71 per gallon, and the cheapest can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $5.26 per gallon.
Exit numbers changing along I-95 in Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will start its next highway renumbering project on or about Sunday night, July 31, changing exit numbers on I-95 from the Massachusetts border in Pawtucket to the Connecticut border in Hopkinton.
The new exit numbers are part of a multi-year federal program to update highway numbering for interstates and other limited-access highways. I-95 is the last highway for RIDOT to renumber.
The new exit numbers are keyed to mile markers -- a system used throughout the country for many years. Rhode Island and some neighboring New England states are among the last to change to this method, required by the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways. The highway exit numbers traditionally were assigned sequentially.
A mile-marker exit number system lets drivers know how far they need to travel to reach their desired off-ramp. It also allows for easier expansion for future interchanges since the entire highway would not have to be renumbered to accommodate a new exit number.
RIDOT will install temporary signs indicating the old exit number and will leave them up for an extended period of time.
Pennsylvania CDL school owner indicted in bribery scheme
On June 28, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania indicted Vladimir Tsymbalenko for federal program bribery for his alleged role in a CDL bribery scheme.
The indictment alleges that between 2015 and September 2018, Tsymbalenko, the owner of a Philadelphia-based CDL training school, paid cash bribes totaling more than $10,000 to a former third-party CDL examiner.
According to the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, Tsymbalenko allegedly paid these cash bribes to influence or reward the third-party CDL examiner for issuing passing scores on the CDL skills examination to Tsymbalenko's clients, including clients who failed, only partially tested, or did not test at all.
In return for the cash bribes, the third-party CDL examiner entered fraudulent CDL examination information into the Commercial Skills Testing Information Management System database, which led to the issuance of fraudulent CDLs for Tsymbalenko's clients.
[Related: CDLs for bribes: Texas sentencing]