Transportation Economic Trends

Cost of Transportation:

Cost of Fuel

This page discusses fuel prices. Firms and households spend more on transportation when fuel prices increase. This includes firms that purchase fuel to acquire raw materials and deliver their own goods to markets and firms that buy fuel to provide transportation services for a fee, such as airlines and trucking companies. Households and firms purchasing transportation services may face higher prices if the firms providing the services raise their prices in response to an increase in fuel prices, e.g., charge more for airfare or truck transportation. Households purchasing fuel to operate their own vehicles also will face higher out-of-pocket transportation costs when fuel prices rise.

2022 Year-in-Review

  • Fuel prices—a transportation cost—rose for the last two consecutive years. From 2021 to 2022, jet fuel increased the most at 43.8 percent, followed by on-highway diesel fuel and motor gasoline (all types), which increased by 39.8 and 31.8 percent, respectively.
  • The 2022 price of motor gasoline (all types) exceeded the 2012 peak by 11.7 percent. Despite the increase, jet fuel and on-highway diesel prices remain below the peak reached in 2012 by 9.5 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.
  • The rise in fuel price from 2021 to 2022 is not as large as the price increase from 2020 to 2021 when motor gasoline (all types) had the largest year-over-year growth, and jet fuel and on-highway diesel had the second largest increase since 1990.
  • From 2021 to 2022, states in all areas experienced an increase in motor gasoline prices (all grades and types). The U.S. average motor gasoline fuel price rose by 30.9 percent, ranging from an increase of 24.6 percent in the Rocky Mountains to 34.6 percent in New England.

Cost of Fuel

Sales Price of Fuel by Mode | Sales Price of Fuel by Region

Sales Price of Fuel by Mode

Fuel prices are a cost to firms that carry out their own transportation operations and firms that sell transportation services for a fee. Fuel prices also are a cost to households to operate motor vehicles for their own use.
The different types of fuel may be used by both firms and households.
  • Motor gasoline: Used by both firms and households to operate motor vehicles.
  • On-highway diesel: Used by both firms and households to operate motor vehicles requiring diesel fuel.
  • Jet fuel kerosene: Used for air transportation by households owning their own planes and by airlines, which provide both freight and passenger transportation to firms and passenger transportation to households.
  • Railroad diesel: Used for both freight and passenger transportation to firms and passenger transportation to households
Prices for motor gasoline, on-highway diesel fuel, 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. The annual values are an average of monthly fuel prices.
For the relative change in the price of gasoline compared to other transportation items purchased by households see the annual and monthly Consumer Price Indexes.

Sales Price of Fuel by Mode | Sales Price of Fuel by Region

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. The annual values are an average of monthly fuel prices.
For the relative change in the price of gasoline compared to other transportation items purchased by households see the annual and monthly Consumer Price Indexes.

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Recommended citation
U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Economic Trends, available at www.bts.gov/product/transportation-economic-trends.

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.
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