Costrefers to the monetary value of the resources used to produce transportation services—labor, equipment, fuel, and infrastructure. The cost of the resources used by producers of transportation services influences the prices they charge.
Priceis the sum of the cost of the resources used plus mark-up and tax. It is the amount purchasers pay for a product or service.
Producers are the firms that carry out transportation operations to move people and goods. For example, trucking companies that haul merchandise to stores and air carriers that transport freight and passengers.
Usersare purchasers, who may be either households—known as consumers—or businesses.
What is the Producer Price Index and Consumer Price Index? What are Their Differences?
The Producer Price Index and the Consumer Price Index measure transportation costs from two different perspectives-the perspective of the producer versus purchasers (in this case, households, also known as consumers).
Producer Price Index
The Producer Price Index
(PPI) captures the weighted average of wholesale or producer prices that producers
of transportation services (e.g., air carriers and trucking companies) charge.
The PPI for a mode of transportation measures the average change in the amount
received by producers. For example, the rail producer price index uses a survey
of railroad prices charged to shippers. The PPI for trucking services measures
the average change over time in the amount received for trucking services. The
PPI differs from the Consumer Price Index, which shows changes in
prices paid by households purchasing transportation services.
The PPI, published by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is one of the most widely used measures. BLS
surveys a sample of individual business establishments. Because values are from
the point of view of the producer of transportation services, they exclude
items like sales and excise taxes. BLS weights prices by the size of
establishment’s revenue to create indexes for narrowly defined services (e.g.,
local specialized freight trucking excluding used goods) and then combines them
into aggregated indexes (e.g., all trucking) using value-of-shipments data from
the economic censuses of the Bureau of the Census. BLS publishes data for both
broad and more narrowly defined indexes.
Consumer Price Index
The Consumer Price Index
for all Urban Consumers (CPI) measures the average change over time in the
prices urban consumers paid for a market basket of consumer goods and services.
The CPI covers the spending by 93 percent
of the total U.S. population. It includes expenditures made by residents of urban or metropolitan areas. It does
not include spending patterns of people living in rural nonmetropolitan areas,
those in farm households, people in the Armed Forces, and those in institutions,
such as prisons and mental hospitals.
The CPI for goods and
services, such as ones related to transportation, show changes in prices paid
by consumers for transportation related goods and services. Comparing the CPI
for all goods and services to the CPI for transportation shows which
transportation items are contributing to changes in the consumer cost of living.
Comparing mode-specific CPIs shows which modes of transportation are becoming
more expensive relative to other modes of transportation.
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the preeminent source of statistics on commercial aviation, multimodal freight activity, and transportation economics, and provides context to decision makers and the public for understanding statistics on transportation.