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Spot rates are up but so are fuel costs

Tight capacity is pushing up rates, but cold weather helps spur diesel fuel price increases.

Dry van and refrigerated spot rates are soaring across most of the nation, according to data tracked by load board operator DAT Solutions, but cold temperatures and Winter Storm Grayson are also pushing up the price of diesel fuel for much of the U.S. as well.

According to DAT’s data, rising shipper demand coincided with tightening truck capacity for the week of December 31 through January 6, pushing  load-to-truck ratios to record highs, including a dry van load to truck ratio of 14.7, which is the highest level ever recorded by DAT.

Similarly, in the refrigerated TL sector, the load-to-truck ratio hit 25.2, also a record high, according to the firm.

DAT added that the national average dry van spot rate jumped 19 cents to $2.30 per mile, while the national average refrigerated spot rate soared 25 cents to $2.71 per mile.

Meanwhile, though, diesel prices continued climbing across the country this week, according to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) – coming to within a hair of a national average of $3 per gallon.

The national average for diesel increased 2.3 cents this week to $2.996 per gallon, according to the agency, which is 39.9 cents per gallon higher compared to the same week in 2017.

Diesel prices climbed in every region of the U.S. this week except for the Rocky Mountains, where prices dipped 7/10ths of a penny to $2.974 per gallon.

Diesel prices now exceed the $3-per-gallon mark in New England ($3.007), the Central Atlantic ($3.209), California ($3.63), and the West Coast with California included ($3.394) and excluded ($3.087).

The national average price for gasoline also increased this week, although slightly EIA reported; up 2/10ths of a penny to $2.522 per gallon, which is 13.4 cents per gallon higher compared ot the same week in 2017.

Gasoline prices were up in every region of the country except the Midwest and Lower Atlantic, where prices dropped 2.5 cents to $2.428 per gallon and 9/10ths of a penny to $2.379 per gallon, respectively.

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