Experts miss mark in DOE fuel forecast, truckers wary

| 6/16/2009

A year ago, many truckers were forced to choose between food and fuel as the price of diesel hit a record high of $4.764 per gallon in mid-July.

With freight rates already in the toilet, many truckers can’t afford a significant spike in their fuel costs again this summer.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released its Short-Term Energy Outlook “predicting” the price of diesel will average $2.40 per gallon for the remainder of 2009. However, truckers are somewhat skeptical.

That’s because the same week EIA released its latest forecast of $2.40 per gallon in June, the national average spiked 14.6 cents to nearly $2.50 per gallon. This was the single-largest weekly increase in more than a year.

OOIDA member Sherrie Bond of Chehalis, WA, told Land Line on Thursday, June 11, that fuel prices were steadily on the rise there with diesel selling for $2.70 per gallon on Thursday, June 11.

In 2010, the EIA estimates the price of fuel will average $2.67 per gallon.

With some already struggling to stay afloat, accurate numbers are key to figuring up rates and fuel surcharges to remain competitive.

The price of crude oil is also on the rise from earlier predictions for 2009, according to the Department of Energy’s latest forecast.

Imported crude oil was expected to average $64.03 per barrel for the second half of 2009, up $8.26 from first-half projections of $55.77 per barrel. The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is expected to average $67 per barrel for the second half of 2009. This is up $16 per barrel from its projection for the first half of the year.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer