Record high diesel prices are affecting the trucking industry

Expensive diesel prices nationwide are causing private truckers to adjust in order to continue.

While most Americans are gasping at gas prices, truckers are dealing with the price of diesel. Diesel, which cost less than $4 per gallon last month, has jumped to a record high of more than $5 per gallon — an increase that’s slamming small transport companies.

The cost of filling a truck that can hold up to 200 gallons of diesel means profits have evaporated.

Independent operators and smaller fleets are most exposed to diesel prices that have hit record highs because they have less leverage with shippers and are having a harder time matching fuel surcharges to the rising rates at the pump.

More than 70% of freight is transported via trucks, according to the American Trucking Associations. Now, fuel surcharges are increasingly affecting the prices of everything from groceries to building supplies.

The average national price of $5.25 a gallon the week of March 14 was the highest in the U.S.  Even a pullback to $5.13 a gallon for the week of March 21 left the national average price up more than $1.50 since the start of the year.

Smaller operators are adjusting operations to save on fuel, taking steps such as limiting idling and cutting speed. Some are even turning away longer-haul loads to focus on shorter runs to keep their expenses down.

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