WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) has asked the Department of Energy to consider creating a single national diesel fuel standard as part of a long-term energy strategy, reports Transport Topics. The request was filed to prevent high fuel prices from crimping the nation's economy, and the associations' president Bill Graves wrote that the "ongoing proliferation of so-called boutique fuels adds to the complexity and costs of diesel fuel refining. The trucking industry believes that a single national diesel fuel standard is the best way to ensure an adequate, uninterrupted supply of this commodity." Fuel is often the second-highest operating expense after labor for a trucking company, making up 10 percent to 25 percent of operating expenses, and the motor carrier industry consumes more than 30 billion gallons of diesel fuel every year. In 2004, the industry paid over $10 billion more for diesel fuel than in 2003, reported Transport Topics. This year, the industry is on pace to spend another $10 billion over what it paid in 2004, and diesel prices have soared this year, setting four consecutive all-time records from late March into mid-April, when they peaked at $2.316. Recently, however, diesel fuel prices have fallen more than 12 cents, as crude oil prices have slid. Graves said that while the economy is still solid, rising energy costs have sapped consumers and businesses of some purchasing power, weakening the broader consumer sector and potentially cutting into economic growth.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials