ATA's board re-ups Spear's contract through 2029

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Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, May 30, 2024:

ATA extends Spear’s contract through 2029

ATA President and CEO Chris SpearATA President & CEO Chris Spear at the 2023 ATA Management Conference & Exhibition in Austin, Texas.

The American Trucking Associations announced Wednesday that its Board of Directors last week voted unanimously to extend the contract of ATA President and CEO Chris Spear through 2029.

The extension adds on to the five-year contract Spear signed in 2021 and was announced at the conclusion of ATA’s Mid-Year Management Session in San Antonio. 

"Thanks to the strong leadership of Chris Spear, the stature and effectiveness of ATA is at its highest point," said ATA Chairman Andrew Boyle, co-president of Boyle Transportation. "Regardless of the political landscape, Chris secures advocacy wins on behalf of our members. He’s a strategic thinker and acts with a great sense of urgency. He and the talented team he’s assembled ensure that the trucking industry has the backing we need to deliver for our economy and the American people. We are thrilled that Chris will continue to lead ATA to even greater success in the years ahead."

Since 2016, Spear has served as the ATA's ninth president and CEO. During his tenure, Spear has advanced major policy priorities for ATA, the group said, including federal infrastructure investment, lawsuit abuse reform, interstate commerce protections, and the defeat of truck-only tolling schemes.  

"I'm grateful for the confidence and support of the ATA board, and I'm excited to tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead," Spear said. "Trucking is the heartbeat of this nation, and it is my honor to serve this incredible industry. I look forward to putting more wins on the board for ATA and our valued members."  

[Related: ATA chief takes aim at unions, plaintiffs' bar and CARB]

Diesel’s national average hits 2-year low

After more than two years with diesel prices mostly at or above $4 a gallon, even above $5 for several months, the nation’s average diesel prices are now back to where they were before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

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The Energy Information Administration in its weekly report this week reported that the U.S.’ national average for a gallon of on-highway diesel is $3.76, the lowest since the week ending Jan. 17, 2022, when prices averaged $3.73 a gallon.

Since the last time prices were at this level, diesel spiked in late February 2022 and spent much of the rest of the year averaging over $5 a gallon. Then, in 2023, diesel remained above $4 a gallon for much of the year. This year, prices have been hovering around $4 a gallon and now are on the sixth consecutive week of declines.

During the most recent week, prices fell in all but one region -- the Central Atlantic, where prices jumped by nine-tenths of a cent.

The largest decreases during the week were seen in California, where prices fell by 6.4 cents, and the Midwest, which saw a 5.2-cent decrease.

With its decrease, California’s average dropped below $5 a gallon to $4.99. The next highest average price is in New England at $4.15 a gallon.

The cheapest fuel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $3.48 a gallon, followed by the Midwest at $3.63 a gallon.

Prices in other regions, according to EIA:

  • Central Atlantic -- $4.12
  • Lower Atlantic -- $3.77
  • Rocky Mountain -- $3.71
  • West Coast less California -- $3.98

FMCSA corrects pre-CDL waiver request from Covenant, Landair

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced in a Federal Register notice publishing Thursday that it is correcting a notice published May 23 regarding a petition from Covenant Logistics that contained two errors.

In the petition, Covenant Transport and Landair Transport, jointly doing business as Covenant Logistics, asked for a waiver to allow pre-CDL drivers to operate without a CDL holder in the passenger seat.

The original notice stated that the Covenant hires approximately 1,200 new drivers each year through driver training schools, adding that the company estimates that approximately 2,000 drivers annually would operate under the requested waiver.

FMCSA’s notice publishing Thursday corrects those numbers to reflect that the company hires approximately 2,400 new drivers each year through driver training schools and that the company estimates 4,000 drivers annually would operate under the requested exemption.

[Related: Covenant seeks waiver to allow pre-CDL drivers to drive without CDL holder in passenger seat]