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 through 2020.
- From 2019 to 2020, jet fuel declined the most at 38.2 percent, followed by on-highway diesel fuel and motor gasoline (all types), which declined 30.1 and 16.9 percent, respectively.
- From 2019 to 2020, states in all areas experienced a decline in motor gasoline prices (all grades and types). The U.S. average motor gasoline fuel price decreased 16.1 percent, ranging from a decrease of 13.6 percent in the Central Atlantic to 18.2 percent in the Gulf 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.