Truckers have been enjoying some of the best business conditions in memory, with rates at or near record highs, freight, and tight trucking capacity. That could soon be curtailed all due to fuel prices.
Fuel prices are growing. Some say it's even too much for fleets. Near the end of May, the national average cost of regular-grade gasoline moved up a little more than 1.15 cents compared to a year earlier, to just over just over $3.29 per gallon. Diesel prices over the same time period rose even more – almost 1.92 cents, to nearly $3.99 per gallon.
Outside of what your drivers pay at the pump, the immediate effect of high gasoline prices is that consumers have less money to spend on purchasing items such as a new television, clothes, a kitchen appliance, or anything else transported by truck.
During the last few month, when gasoline rose an average of about $1.15 cents per gallon, this translated into nearly an extra $9.5 billion that Americans shelled out for gasoline that they could have spent on merchandise, according to a MarketWatch report.
Now consider that retail sales in September totaled just under $700 billion, rising an expected 0.5%, down from an 0.11% growth seen in March. The billions more dollars people had to spend on putting gas in their tanks rather than purchasing other items is far more than the $1.5 billion difference between total March and April retail sales.
While it remains to be seen if all this will happen, there is no doubt the stage is set for volatile diesel and gasoline prices. That could not only hurt your trucking operation, but also slow down the amount of freight moved by truck.
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We might be able to improve our fuel economy but you should also look at making money as well. View our additional tips on how to be profitable