Trucking industry fuel bill approaches $100 billion

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The American Trucking Associations has revised upward the trucking industry’s 2006 fuel costs, projecting motor carriers will spend $98.3 billion on fuel in 2006.

The revised estimate follows the release by the Energy Information Administration of an adjustment in its 2006 forecast of the national annual average price of diesel from $2.59 per gallon to $2.7. The EIA forecast increased ATA’s April 25 estimate of the trucking industry’s fuel bill by $4 billion and represents a $10.6 billion increase over the $87.7 billion spent for diesel fuel by trucking in 2005.

ATA President and CEO Bill Graves says that, for many motor carriers, fuel represents the second-highest operating expense, accounting for as much as 25 percent of total operating costs. “An affordable supply of diesel fuel is imperative to keep our trucks moving,” Graves says. “We are not recreational vehicles. We have to be out there delivering the goods that America and our economy are demanding.”

ATA says fuel prices could increase further in 2006 because of the introduction of ultra-low-sulfur diesel, which is scheduled to hit the market mid-year. ULSD costs more to refine and distribute than today’s diesel fuel, which could place additional upward pressure on the price of diesel fuel, according to ATA.