Home Truck News ECONOMIC TRUCKING TRENDS: Fuel prices eat into trucking conditions - Truck News

ECONOMIC TRUCKING TRENDS: Fuel prices eat into trucking conditions – Truck News

It was a fairly light week for economic news, but FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index reflected the pain of rising fuel costs for truckers in February.

Spot market rates also pulled back slightly, giving up some of their recent gains.

Rising fuel prices eat into trucking conditions

Trucking conditions deteriorated in February, according to FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index, sliding from -1.41 in January to -5.31.

The declining conditions were mostly due to a sharp rise in fuel prices. FTR projects rising fuel prices will remain a drag on the index in the near-term, but also feels overall freight dynamics will gradually improve over the year.

“We forecast market conditions for carriers as measured by the TCI to remain negative but to steadily improve through the third quarter,” said Avery Vise, vice-president of trucking with FTR.

“Trucking companies should see more favorable conditions in the fourth quarter and in 2025, although risks to a recovery are still significant. The industrial sector shows signs of improvement, and consumption has been solid. However, inflation and interest rates are still a concern. The biggest issue remains the imbalance between capacity and demand, which continues to depress utilization. Diesel prices are a wild card as an escalation might push out more operations that are struggling financially.”

spot market rates chart

Spot market rates give up some recent gains

Truckstop and FTR reported declining spot market rates for the week ended April 5, led by losses in the dry van and refrigerated segments. Dry van rates saw their largest decrease in six weeks, while reefer rates saw their largest decline in eight weeks.

Load postings were also down from the previous week, but marked their strongest year over year comparison in more than two years. The Market Demand Index actually improved to 76.4, thanks to a reduction in truck postings.

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