Diesel fuel costs are projected to keep climbing, according to the American Trucking Associations. The ATA has added $4.0 billion to its 2006 projections, bringing the total to $98.3 billion. The upward shift in estimates follows the Energy Information Administration's adjusted forecast of the national annual average price for diesel of $2.70 per gallon. It had previously projected a cost of $2.59 per gallon.
In 2005, according to ATA, the trucking industry spent more than $87.7 billion for diesel fuel. The revised estimate means a $10.6 billion increase over 2005 fuel costs. Looking even further into the future,-the ATA feels that fuel prices might increase even more in 2006, as new ultra low sulfur diesel reaches the market. The new fuel is more expensive than today's fuels due to additional refining and distribution costs.
In remarks at NASSTRAC's annual conference last month, ATA president and CEO, Bill Graves, correlated failures of trucking companies over the recent past to the ever-increasing burden of higher diesel fuel costs. Among other measures advocated are an increase in refining capacity and the use of biodiesel in blends to 5% as part of the national fuel diesel standard. Noting that there are a number of boutique diesel blends currently available, Graves called for a single national fuel standard.