Each company should determine a method that is appropriate to their operation, however, RateView provides a fairly standard methodology.
- Determine a baseline price. Common industry values range from $1.10-$1.30 per gallon because that's the historic price of diesel fuel when it began to rapidly spike up and affect pricing issues. RateView uses a value of $1.25 which matches the most commonly used starting point per recent industry surveys. Updated on Monday of each week.
- Subtract the base price from the weekly price provided by the Energy Information Administration from its website at https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/. Should the current value for post April 2018 equal $3.003, DAT's calculation would round to $3.00 and the formula requires subtracting $1.25 to find the difference of $1.75/gallon.
- Divide this difference of $1.75 by the fleet miles per gallon to obtain a cost per mile. DAT includes consideration for empty miles and differences between equipment types. This shows how fuel surcharge for each equipment type is calculated. The formula is as follows - (current EIA price - baseline of $1.25) divided by the relevant mpg, hence:
| Current Price | Baseline Price | Miles Per Gallon | Fuel Surcharge |
Van | $3.00 | $1.25 | 6.0 mpg | $0.29 |
Reefer | $3.00 | $1.25 | 5.5 mpg | $0.32 |
Flatbed | $3.00 | $1.25 | 5.0 mpg | $0.35 |
The method of resetting the weekly fuel surcharge based on the EIA national average has been used for over thirty years. During that time period engines have changed and fleet mileage has generally increased so periodically the mpg needs to be reexamined. An important factor for the trucker to consider is that he or she pays for fuel on all miles operated not just loaded miles so if the truck actually gets 6.65 miles per gallon but 10% of miles are involved in repositioning equipment (deadheads) such that just 90% of miles are loaded, then that is the same as getting about 6.0 mpg for pricing purposes.
Contract rates usually use fuel surcharge adjustments with published base rates (linehaul rates). Spot market rates are generally all-in combinations of base plus fuel, but it is useful to separate the two components to study spot market linehaul behavior, which depends on supply and demand. Hence DAT uses an identical formula to separate contract and spot market rates into linehaul and fuel surcharge components.