National average: $2.22
Diesel prices at mid-May hovered at lows last recorded four years ago. Fuel is expected to average $2.27 per gallon this summer, $2.30 for the year, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy.
As the economy struggled and fuel prices fell, revenue and total costs dropped across all hauling segments from late 2008 to early 2009 for clients of Denver-based business services provider ATBS.
Equipment orders rise
Fleet equipment orders for the second quarter were expected to be weak, though improving, according to a survey by CK Commercial Vehicle Research, based in Columbus, Ohio. Analysts found that private, food service fleets are the most likely companies to make purchases now. Most of the equipment slated for purchase is for replacement, not for added capacity, says CK analyst Chris Kemmer.
Surface trade between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico rose 1 percent from January to $47.9 billion in February, but dropped 31 percent from a year ago. It was the largest year-to-year percentage decrease on record, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Owner-operator businesses decreased by 9 percent in 2008 to 159,400 due to high diesel fuel prices and weak freight volumes, according to the 2009 Overdrive Owner-Operator Market Behavior Report, produced by Commercial Motor Vehicle Consulting. Analysts expect a rebound by 2010, if not sooner. Among fleets of five or more trucks, more than 3,000 failed in 2008, according to Avondale Partners and other sources.
Average rates rose by 13 cents from March to April in the reefer segment, while falling by 1 cent in both dry van and flatbed divisions. The averages, provided by Internet Truckstop, include fuel surcharges.