Oil Rout Puts $24 Billion of Truck Fuel Savings in Play: Freight

As shippers of everything from toys to tools enjoy as much as $24 billion in savings from lower diesel surcharges next year, trucking companies see an opening to raise freight rates at a pace not seen in about a decade.

iBr9tDJb00cIThe American Trucking Associations calculates that each 1-cent drop spurs industrywide annual fuel savings of $350 million. Diesel last week averaged $2.15 a gallon, down from $2.85 in the last 12 months. About 85 percent of the savings goes to shippers through lower fuel surcharges.

That may soften shippers’ resistance to higher rates that trucking companies say they need to cover rising expenses for salaries, health care and new regulations that limit driving hours. Unlike previous times when fuel prices fell, stronger economic growth is increasing demand for cargo space while drivers are scarce, which spurs higher rates.

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