A company that tracks the daily average price of diesel fuel in truck stops across the nation is stepping up to provide weekly data to help truckers and shippers calculate fuel surcharges.
ProMiles, the software company that maintains the websites ProMiles.com and TruckMiles.com, announced Monday that they would make available weekly fuel price information while the federal Energy Information Administration is closed during the government shutdown.
“When we saw that it looked like the EIA was probably not going to be publishing the numbers, we started going through our database to provide something in a similar format that would be usable for the trucking industry in the interim while they figure out what they’re doing in Washington,” Chris Lee, vice president of marketing for ProMiles said in an interview with “Land Line Now” on Tuesday.
Lee said the company’s fuel price data, which is available for free here, is presented in the same format used by the EIA in the agency’s weekly reports. The prices include a national average as well as regional averages, and comparisons to the previous week and the previous year.
A key difference will be the type and number of fueling stations the company surveys in order to calculate its averages.
“It’s slightly different in that (EIA) surveys 400 truck stops and convenience stores in the lower 48,” Lee said. “Because we have a direct feed from thousands of truck stops, and not convenience stores, because we deal specifically with the trucking industry. Instead of using 400 stops, we’re using several thousand to compile our number, somewhere in the 4,000-4,500 range.”
Lee said the numbers are determined by taking a snapshot “first thing in the morning,” and using that figure as a static number.
On Friday the EIA announced that it would close “due to a lapse in appropriations” and that no updates to its website or its data reports would commence until funding was restored.
Since 2008, FuelSurchargeIndex has provided some of the industry’s largest carriers with daily updated, lane-specific, fuel surcharge calculations, for a fee.
Lee said the averages will be made available at no charge to the transportation industry, at least for the duration of the shutdown. He said he was not sure what would happen once funding for the EIA was restored.
“There is a little bit of work involved in manipulating the data and getting into a format,” he said. “Right now we’re just absorbing that cost. Going forward, I don’t know for sure that it’s going to be on a subscription basis, but that is a possibility.”
Land Line Now correspondent Terry Scruton contributed to this report.
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