Truck stop operators say diesel fuel sales volumes decline

Diesel fuel sales have declined at US truck stops in response to higher prices, a national association of truck stop and travel plaza operators reported.

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 29 -- Diesel fuel sales have declined at US truck stops in response to higher prices, a national association of truck stop and travel plaza operators reported.

A survey of its 1,100 members also showed that gasoline purchases increased slightly, with a huge shift from premium and midgrade to regular, NATSO said. The Alexandria, Va.,-based trade association was founded in 1960 as the National Association of Truck Stop Operators.

NATSO said the survey found that the average monthly diesel sales volume fell 5.2% year-to-year to 906,700 gal in June and 4.5% to 898,109 gal in July. During that period, it noted, data compiled by Oil Price Information Service showed that truckers paid an average $1.74/gal more in June and $1.76/gal more in July than a year earlier.

The declines began after volumes began 2008 with strong growth, NATSO said. Sales were 6% higher year-to-year in January and February, 2.5% lower in March and 2% higher in April before falling sharply (5.8%) in May, it indicated.

Meanwhile, NATSO members reported that gasoline sales volumes at their truck stops grew an average 1.5% year-to-year in June and 1.8% in July. Premium gasoline sales fell 17% in June and 19% in July, while mid-grade gasoline sales declined nearly 13% in June and 16% in July, the association said.

It said OPIS data show gasoline prices were $1.03/gal higher year-to-year in June and $1.09/gal higher in July.

The US Energy Information Administration reported Aug. 25 that retail diesel fuel prices fell for a sixth consecutive week to an average $4.145/gal nationwide but remained $1.282/gal higher than their level a year earlier.

Contact Nick Snow at nsnow@cox.net.

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