Daily Tip: Retail Truckstop Diesel Price (DTS)

FreightWaves Customer SuccessDaily Tips

Did you know? You can see daily fluctuations in retail diesel prices around the country, either as a national average or in specific markets.

Each day we’ll send you a daily tip designed to guide you to become a SONAR expert. If you have any questions, please contact your Customer Success Representative or email the team at cs@freightwaves.com.

Retail truckstop diesel prices – FreightWaves gathers data from hundreds of truckstops to produce a SONAR series that provides daily updates on the average price of diesel at the pump. SONAR has data on individual cities and regions as well as a national average price. 

Diesel prices peaked in June at almost $6.00 per gallon, but have declined over the past month to around $5.00 per gallon. Costs for diesel fuel are expected to remain elevated over the next several months, straining small carriers and owner-operators as spot rates fall for on-demand capacity. 

SONAR Tickers: DTS.USA, DTS.CHI

The chart above shows how the national average can be compared to a specific city or regional price. For example, DTS.CHI shows the retail price of diesel in the Chicago market.

The chart below is a tree map of the one-month change in retail fuel prices for a wide range of cities. The tree map can be customized to follow the cities that are important to your company. 

SONAR TreeMap: DTS.USA One-Month Change

Carriers: The DTS series can give you day-to-day information on diesel prices in specific markets. A comparison among several cities can show a carrier that diesel costs at the beginning or in the middle of a trip might be cheaper than at the end of the trip. Also, the ULSDR series gives the wholesale price of diesel. While the price at the pump does not necessarily follow the wholesale price, it can signal an upcoming directional change in prices.

Brokers: A brokerage is in the middle of two parties with an exposure to the price of diesel. The brokerage also could be establishing fuel surcharges in its transactions. Knowing the direction of retail fuel prices provides greater transparency about where markets are going, particularly in regard to what the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is going to find when it does its weekly survey before setting the weekly average retail price.

Shippers: What direction is the fuel surcharge going to go? This data series will be your best barometer. 

Fuel is generally the second-largest cost for any trucking company or for shippers analyzing their fuel cost structure. Many companies have employed the services of fuel consultants who help devise fuel purchasing and risk management best practices for companies to follow. But using the data in the DTS series can give you a daily outlook on what is happening with prices at a very granular level. That base of knowledge is helpful whether: you’re an owner-operator trying to ensure that you accept a price for a load that will fairly compensate you for fuel costs; you’re a shipper whose exposure to the price of fuel comes through a surcharge; or your fuel costs are being run through a plan devised by an outside expert.  

To create a line chart

  1. Click the large Plus sign (+) in the top right corner of a custom page.
  1. Select the chart option from the drop-down menu.
  1. If you want to make a plain bar graph, type the SONAR symbol for the particular market. A national average for retail diesel can be seen at DTS.USA. A particular market would be its own code, such as the aforementioned DTS.CHI for Chicago.
  1. Hit return and the chart will appear.

Create a tree map to view the retail diesel fuel price in multiple markets across the nation. 

  1. After going again to the large Plus sign, click Tree Map.
  1. Give your Tree Map chart a name. Click Manage Symbols. Click Energy-price. Go down to Diesel Truck Stop actual price per gallon. Click XMKT. A list of the locations will pop up. Click the ones you want in your Tree Map. Click Add Selected Items. Click Done.
  1. Click Save, and your Tree Map will appear.
  1. In the top left corner, you can change the map to view the change in diesel fuel prices over one week, two weeks, a month or one year. 

Pro Tip: Use truckstop retail diesel prices (DTS) along with the SONAR ULSD rack price (ULSDR) to compare the difference between wholesale and retail diesel fuel prices.

If you have questions about retail fuel prices in SONAR, please contact us at cs@freightwaves.com. 

Happy Hauling,

The FW Team