Diesel prices surge back to pre-pandemic levels

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Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Feb, 9, 2021:

Diesel prices continue 14-week surge
A 6.3-cent increase in the national average price of diesel during the most recent week has diesel prices soaring to pre-pandemic levels, just a penny shy of the national average of the week ending March 9, 2020, around the time shutdowns began around the nation.

The U.S.’ average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel is now $2.801, according to the Department of Energy’s weekly report. Fuel prices have now increased for 14 consecutive weeks, dating back to the week ending Nov. 9, when fuel was at its 2020 low of $2.372 per gallon.

DOE, in its January monthly report, predicted diesel prices will hover around $2.71 per gallon throughout 2021. Chris Lee, vice president of marketing for ProMiles, said he expects fuel prices to climb past $3 per gallon this summer.

During the most recent week, prices increased in all regions across the country, with the most significant increase being seen in the Midwest, where prices rose by 7.2 cents.

The nation’s highest fuel prices can be found in California at $3.558 per gallon, followed by the Central Atlantic region at $3.005 per gallon.

The cheapest diesel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $2.566 per gallon, followed by the Rocky Mountain region at $2.699 per gallon.

Prices in other regions, according to DOE, are:

  • New England – $2.84
  • Lower Atlantic – $2.74
  • Midwest – $2.748
  • West Coast less California – $2.897

ProMiles’ numbers during the week saw fuel prices increase by 3.8 cents, bringing its national average to $2.688 per gallon.

According to ProMiles’ Fuel Surcharge Index, the most expensive diesel can be found in California at $3.521 per gallon, and the cheapest can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $2.502 per gallon.

Indiana's new load permitting system up and running
The Indiana Department of Revenue’s (DOR) Motor Carrier Services (MCS) department's new oversize/overweight permitting system is live as of Monday. The DOR reported that as of late afternoon Monday "97% of today’s OS/OW permits have been self-issued through the system," requiring no manual intervention by staff. To put that in perspective, in 2020 alone, the MCS team issued permits at the rate of more than 1,000 per day, "a large percentage requiring manual processing."

The work on the new system was a result of collaboration with the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Indiana State Police, and trucking industry partners and customers across the state.

While calling the system's launch a success, Indiana DOR did report several instances of "the system logging out customers without warning." They offered the recommendation to carriers to "access the system in Google Chrome and complete the permit application using [just a single] tab in the browser. Other tabs may open during the permitting process to show reference information. You should close these tabs when you are finished reviewing the information and return to working the permit in the original tab. The system was designed to process one permit at a time to prevent errors."

The system was taken down last week for the transition to the new system to take place.