With a 2.4-cent drop this week, the country’s average diesel price hit its lowest point since June 1, 2009.
The average price of a gallon of on-highway diesel is now $2.493. Prices dropped in all regions during the week with the most significant decrease coming in New England, where prices dropped 4 cents.
The most expensive diesel can be found in California at $2.848 per gallon, followed by the Central Atlantic region at $2.662 per gallon. The nation’s cheapest diesel is in the Gulf Coast region at $2.34 per gallon, followed by the Midwest at $2.447 per gallon.
Prices in other regions across the U.S. are as follows:
•New England – $2.613 •Lower Atlantic – $2.448 •Rocky Mountain – $2.522 •West Coast less California – $2.55
What would the trucking industry look like without 70 percent of the independent and small-fleet owner-operators in business moving freight on the roads today?
What kind of recruiting and training efforts might be required among more sizable fleets if 52 percent of their company drivers and leased owner-operators suddenly exit the business?
Such questions aren’t strictly rhetorical. An Overdrive survey of readers shows such percentages of respondents saying they would either retire or look for another line of work before they’d ever run with an electronic logging device.
Under the proposed rule by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, ELDs could be mandated for virtually all interstate haulers by late 2016. Many of the largest fleets have adopted ELDs or are phasing them in, and medium-sized fleets are following suit. The smallest fleets — whether unable to afford electronic logging systems, objecting to the devices as an invasion of privacy or without personnel devoted to safety technology — are likely to be the last holdouts.
It’s unclear how many of those small independents, as well as some owner-operators and company drivers not using ELDs, would not follow through on threats to quit. But the recent experience of older drivers leaving when the current hours of service regulations were introduced shows the threats are not all idle. The ELD mandate likewise could accelerate industry retirements, says analyst Jay Thompson, president of Transportation Business Associates.
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