Why Are Diesel Fuel Prices So High?

Fuel prices for both gasoline and diesel have reached record highs, but diesel prices have surpassed gasoline by nearly $2.00/gallon. These fuel price hikes were caused in part by decades-low stockpiles and refinery outages. The war in Ukraine has also contributed significantly because of decreased access to fuel and increased demand for fuel supplied by the U.S. Gulf Coast.

How Are Diesel Prices Affecting Trucking Companies?

The rapid increase in diesel fuel prices through 2022 is increasing operational costs for trucking companies, to the point that many are not generating enough revenue to cover fuel costs even with fuel surcharges. This makes it difficult to stay within profit margins.

After reevaluating their costs, many small trucking companies are taking more local loads and working overtime to meet their financial needs. Many trucking companies have tried introducing or increasing a fuel surcharge or freight charges to offset the increased diesel prices. Some trucking companies may still have to plan additional budget cuts and adjustments.

High Diesel Fuel Prices Affect More Than the Trucking Industry

Drivers, consumers and the overall economy are also at risk due to the high diesel fuel prices. Part of budget cuts may include pay cuts for drivers, resulting in some leaving the industry. Other companies might go out of business, or increase costs that result in a rise in the consumer price of goods. Other divisions of the economy that are driven by diesel fuel and may be experiencing a backlash due to diesel fuel prices include construction, manufacturing and agriculture.

Ways to Offset Increased Diesel Prices

Ways to help save on fuel and improve fuel habits include:

  • Get a fuel card: Fuel cards can help you save at the pump and track your fuel expenses.
  • Minimize bad driving habits: Driving faster than the speed limit or above your engine’s fuel efficiency can result in unnecessary increased fuel consumption.
  • Decrease idle time: Idling can waste gallons of fuel per hour.
  • Buy the right fuel: Stick with ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel; double check the fuel type at any station that isn’t clearly labeled as a truck stop.
  • Don’t forget aerodynamics: Lowering wind resistance through various techniques can help lower your fuel costs.
  • Keep up with regular maintenance checks: Follow a preventative maintenance routine and check your miles per gallon at each fill to help track any fluctuations.
  • Check tire pressure weekly: Fill tires to the manufacturer’s specifications to prevent rolling resistance.
  • Change shifting habits: Shift gears by revolutions per minute (RPM) not by the sound of the engine.

What to Expect from Diesel Prices in the Coming Months

Although there have been some months of declining fuel prices, diesel prices have dropped only slightly and jumped back up quickly. Diesel will likely maintain inflated prices while inventories remain low. Looking ahead, the diesel fuel prices are expected to worsen as we hit winter which is the peak of diesel season.

Contact RTS today for fuel and maintenance discounts that can help you navigate the rise of diesel fuel prices.

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