While all gas prices across the country continue to be expensive, one fuel that has a particularly high price tag right now is diesel.
The national average price for a gallon of diesel increased from $3.81 on Monday, Feb. 7 to $3.89 on Monday, Feb. 14. That’s a total increase of eight cents over seven days, or a two percent increase in just a week’s time.
The rapid increase has made the price truck drivers pay at the pump higher than what anyone else pays.
“They’re getting pretty steep. It’s getting hard on the all-over-the-road truck guy here,” said truck driver Jaquarius Smith.
When asked how much he paid filling up his truck in Davenport, Smith answered, “Roughly $800 dollars.”
Cheryl Nichols, who has been a truck driver for eight years, says her company pays for the diesel she puts in her truck, and even tells her what gas stations to stop at in each city. Nichols says she feels bad for the truck drivers who have to pay for their diesel out of their own pockets.
“A lot of these guys try not to even get a route going uphill because they burn so much fuel,” Nichols said. “That’s rent money, I know a lot of them aren’t sleeping in their trucks like a house, but it’s got to be tough. I’ve been seeing the prices where they were pretty decent, you never heard a lot of complaints about the fuel too much. But now these guys seem to be very angry, you can tell some of their demeanor has totally changed.”
While most of us don’t fill up with diesel as truck drivers do, rising diesel prices can still have an impact on everyone. One item everyone has seen go up this year: food at the grocery store. Simply put, if the truck drivers have to pay more to fuel their trucks to ship food to the stores, that adds to the cost of groceries for everyone. Another bill going up is heat and energy, which is also impacted by diesel prices.
Patrick De Haan, the head of Petroleum Analysis at the tech company Gasbuddy, says diesel prices increasing grocery and heating costs has been a big hit for many Americans.
“Diesel is also heating oil, or can be used as heating oil,” De Haan said. “So demand is kind of in the prime right now for diesel. And of course, as the economy continues to rebound, diesel is the fuel of commerce, and so (it’s) kind of a double-whammy for diesel. (There’s a) higher cost of getting those grocery store items to the store itself.”
De Haan compares the current rise in gas prices to the great recession of 2008, saying a national average of $4 a gallon for diesel is not far off, and could happen with regular gasoline too.
“I think it’s certainly a strong possibility that we do see a four dollar a gallon average for gasoline, and certainly potentially beyond that for diesel,” De Haan said. “(Diesel) could hit $4.50 a gallon on average, could be very reminiscent of 2008.”
De Haan says the difference between the current rise in prices and the rise in 2008 though is the current price increase will likely stick around for a much longer period of time due to imbalances created by the pandemic.
“It may stick around, and that’s the unfortunate news too is there’s not a whole lot of light at the end of the tunnel yet,” De Haan said.