Transportation Economic Trends
Cost of Transportation:
Cost of Fuel
This pages discusses fuel prices. Fuel prices are a cost to firms that produce transportation services. These firms embed the costs in the price they charge businesses and households. Fuel prices also are a cost to households to operate motor vehicles for their own use.
- Fuel prices—a transportation cost—rose from 2016 through 2018 before declining in 2019.
- From 2018 to 2019, motor gasoline (all types) declined the most, followed by jet fuel and on-highway diesel fuel, which declined 6.9 and 6.1 percent, respectively.
- From 2018 to 2019, states in all areas except the West Coast experienced a decline in motor gasoline prices (all grades and types). Motor gasoline fuel prices rose 1.5 percent in the West Coast.
Costs to Produce Transportation Services
Sales Price of Fuel by Mode
Fuel prices are a cost to firms that carry out their own transportation operations and industries that sell transportation services.
Prices for motor gasoline, on-highway diesel fuel (used by automobiles and trucks), jet fuel kerosene, and railroad diesel typically move together with slight variations. This reflects the underlying price of crude oil from which they are all refined.
Sales Price of Fuel By Region
Motor gasoline prices vary substantially across the United States. Prices vary because of state and local taxes, refinery locations, fuel supplies, retail competition, and fuel regulations. The West Coast tends to have the highest gasoline prices in the country, because California (one of the states in the West Coast region) requires a unique blend of gasoline to meet environmental regulations.