As of May 1, according to AAA, the average cost of gas in the United States was $4.194 per gallon while diesel costs averaged its highest yet at a whopping $5.321 per gallon and still rising. A year ago, a gallon of diesel fuel cost only $3.086. If you drive any sort of vehicle at all, then you know that fuel prices have been rising steadily the last several months. While everyone seems to be feeling the effects, those of us in the trucking industry are likely feeling on a large scale.
Fuel is our largest expense, so it’s possible you’ll see smaller trucking companies and owner operators really struggling, if they aren’t already, with these rising fuel costs. It’s become increasingly difficult to keep up with, despite establishing fuel surcharges, since the prices are changing drastically from week to week. There are also some companies that don’t have a large margin to work with, so if fuel prices stay high, it will continue to dig into their profit.
We’ve also started seeing issues with roadside maintenance. Before, this was something that was more readily available. However, with higher fuel prices, many repair shops no longer offer roadside service. Along with all the other increasing expenses they find it more profitable to work in their shops rather than on site work. How much more time and expense does it take to have a rig towed in for something that could be repaired on the side of the road? This means that a trucker who breaks down may not get back on the road as quickly as they have in the past.
These higher costs are flowing down to the consumer as well. If you’ve noticed that you’ve been spending more at the grocery store lately, then you’re already seeing the impact.
Some ways truckers and trucking companies can improve fuel mileage to save money include:
- Maintaining consistent speeds
- Drive at a more efficient lower speed
- Limiting idling time
- Invest in aerodynamic packages
- Use a gas app to find the best price or fuel at your company’s terminal locations.
- Monitor tire pressure
- Avoid carrying unnecessary items
- Keep wheels aligned
- Keep load height low
- Reduce air conditioning usage
- Practice preventative maintenance on your truck
As far as when fuel prices may finally stabilize, only time will tell.
At NTB, we’ve been in business since 1974 and have weathered many different situations in our economy. Our drivers trust us to provide them with consistent freight lanes, competitive pay and guaranteed home time. They love our new competitive pay package, which makes it possible for our experienced drivers to earn over $95,000 per year. If you’re looking to make a change for your future in trucking, give us a call today!