Digging deep into fuel efficiency amid record-high diesel prices – DAT Freight & Analytics


Document-high diesel prices have captured everybody’s consideration lately, so this week we’re going to dig somewhat deeper into gas effectivity and methods to economize.

In contrast to in previous years when excessive diesel costs pushed carriers out of the business, record-high costs this yr observe an awfully worthwhile 2021. DAT carriers reported having probably the greatest years in a long time as they took benefit of record-high spot charges and comparatively low diesel costs within the latter half of the yr. As a proportion of journey income, diesel averaged 19% in 2021. Nonetheless, with latest record-high costs, gas is at the moment round 33% of journey income for carriers within the DAT freight community. At these ranges and primarily based on earlier freight cycles, excessive diesel costs sometimes ship carriers out of the business crushed below the burden of adverse money move.

This yr it’s totally different, and right here’s why.

In line with Prof. Jason Miller at Michigan State College, “the newest Quarterly Companies Survey from the Census Bureau signifies income (together with gas surcharges) for truck transportation institutions within the first quarter of 2022 elevated 6.2% from This fall 2021 and a 19.3% improve year-over-year. In Q1 2019, seasonally adjusted income was $78.85 billion. Q1 2022 was $111.51 billion, a 41% acquire.”

Giant truckload service Werner Enterprises from Omaha, NE, reported robust first-quarter 2022 leads to their Truckload Transportation Companies and Logistics segments. In line with Derek J. Leathers, Chairman, President, and Chief Govt Officer, “This was our seventh consecutive quarter of file quarterly adjusted earnings per share.” Werner’s truckload whole revenues for the quarter have been $764.6 million, a rise of $148.2 million or 24% in comparison with the prior-year quarter.

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How have excessive diesel costs impacted carriers?

DAT has held the view that carriers, particularly small ones, are in a superb monetary place to climate the storm on account of record-high diesel costs and inflation driving up different working prices. In fact, that will depend on how lengthy costs stay excessive and the way way more spot charges drop within the subsequent few months. Service revenue margins are plummeting, and for an owner-operator, they may have dropped by as a lot as 228% within the final yr. This time final yr, long-haul owner-operators working revenue per mile would have been round $0.31/mile – in the present day, it’s adverse $0.35/mile assuming all different prices and utilization metrics stay unchanged.

So what can carriers do to handle gas prices?

Enhance gas effectivity.

“When drivers are doing nicely and making a variety of income, they have an inclination to not care as a lot about gas effectivity”, based on ATBS. Proprietor-operator shoppers at ATBS averaged 6.89 MPG, with one of the best MPG coming within the dry van section at 7.31.

Perceive how the gas surcharge works

A gas surcharge is a mechanism within the trucking business that helps stability the fluctuations in gas value. Incorporating a gas surcharge into transportation pricing grew to become a broadly accepted apply years in the past. This surcharge permits owner-operators to offset the prices of excessive gas costs, particularly in instances like these. In some instances, relying on gas effectivity ranges, owner-operators could make a revenue from the gas surcharge. In line with ATBS, the higher a service’s MPG, the extra they save on gas, and most often, you revenue from the gas surcharge given the 6.5 mpg common utilized by most within the business.

Reap the benefits of gas low cost networks and gas playing cards

For leased-on owner-operators hauling freight for a service, staying throughout the service’s gas community affords entry to negotiated reductions. Most truckstop chain associations provide gas playing cards. For small carriers, the OOIDAs Truckers Benefit gas card is accepted nationwide at over 8,000 gas places, together with a 14¢ per gallon low cost off the pump value at TA/Petro places. Another choice is to make use of the DAT One cellular app to search out one of the best gas costs primarily based on location. DAT One additionally integrates with DAT gas playing cards, highlighting one of the best costs and permitting drivers to see discounted gas card costs at any location.

How can carriers modify driving habits to avoid wasting on gas?

There are a number of methods drivers can modify their habits proper now that may put extra cash in your pocket:


In line with ATBS, a driver operating at 70 mph will get 6.5 mpg, and one other operating at 60 mph will get 7.5 mpg. Over an hour, driver A is 10 miles additional down the street than driver B, however at $5.50/gallon, she or he has spent round $15 extra to go these 10 miles in the identical period of time. Primarily based on 110,000 miles per yr and a mean of 6.5 mpg, a truck will incur $12,410 extra in gas prices than 7.5 mpg.

Idle much less

The common truck burns round a gallon per hour when idling at 1,000 RPM. Throughout a 10-hour break, a truck can burn by means of 10 gallons of gas or $57 at in the present day’s costs. Even by lowering engine RPMs to 650 when idling, gas consumption drops by half to simply 5 gallons for the 10-hour break. That discount in engine RPM would cut back gas prices by virtually $200 per week or simply over $8,000 per yr.

Along with saving cash on these important value gadgets, carriers can search for methods to run extra loaded miles per week and, within the course of, minimize down on empty miles the place the gas surcharge doesn’t apply. Extra strategic load choice and even attempting totally different lanes the place a provide/demand imbalance affords larger charges per mile is a simple approach to enhance margins. Having nice enterprise companions just like the consultants at OOIDA and ATBS would even be an ideal place to begin.

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