Fuel Prices Keep Pressure on Van Rates

The average price for a gallon of diesel hit its highest mark of the year last week at $3.28, which is 74¢ higher than a year ago. The higher fuel cost has kept the pressure on spot market rates to remain elevated, despite the extra competition for loads in the Midwest and Northeast last week.

The looser capacity up north was offset by intense demand for dry van freight transportation across the southern band of states, from California through the entire Southeast region last week. The load-to-truck ratio for vans added 5 percent, compared to the previous week, rising from 6.4 to 6.7 loads per truck. Rising load-to-truck ratios typically signal an increase in rates.

DAT load boards provides the largest and most trusted digital freight marketplace in the trucking industry, with more than 179 million loads and trucks posted annually, plus insights into current spot market and contract rates based on $45 billion in real transactions.


California is coming on strong. Outbound load volume and rates trended up for vans in Los Angeles last week, especially on high-demand lanes from L.A. to Dallas, to Chicago, and to Stockton. Volume and rates also got a boost on a handful of key northbound and eastbound lanes originating in Stockton.

All rates below include fuel surcharges and are based on real transactions between brokers and carriers.

On the top 100 van lanes, the biggest jump was on the lane from Atlanta to Philadelphia, up 28¢ to $3.28/mile. Also:

  • Atlanta to Chicago jumped 23¢, to $2.26/mile
  • Charlotte to Chicago bounced up 22¢, to $2.18/mile
  • Los Angeles to Seattle increased 15¢, to $2.90/mile


Some of the lanes that lost ground last week included:

  • Atlanta to Columbus dropped 15¢ to $2.18/mile
  • Denver to Stockton fell 13¢ to $1.46/mile
  • Chicago to Los Angeles lost 12¢ to $1.49/mile
  • Seattle to Eugene, OR was down 11¢ to $2.44/mile

Find loads, trucks and lane-by-lane rate information in DAT load boards, including rates from DAT RateView.

Pat Pitz

Pat Pitz is the editor of the DAT Solutions freight broker newsletter. He has nearly 20 years experience as a professional writer and editor. Before joining DAT, he spent 8 years at a Portland advertising and public relations agency, where he wrote newsletters and other content for a variety of high-profile clients, including several in the trucking industry.