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—peaked in 2012, then declined in 2013 through 2016 before rising once again in 2017 and 2018 as the price of crude oil rose.
- From 2017 to 2018, the cost of jet fuel rose the most, at 29.8 percent followed by on-highway diesel fuel at 24.6 percent, and motor gasoline at 13.2 percent.
- From 2017 to 2018, the Rocky Mountain states experienced the greatest increase in motor gasoline prices, rising 14.8 percent from $2.50 to $2.87. Gasoline prices increased the least in the Lower Atlantic states—rising 8.8 percent from $2.46 to $2.67 during the same period.
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.
U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Economic Trends, available at www.bts.gov/product/transportation-economic-trends.