Transport Insights

Fuel Prices for Commercial Motor Vehicle Carriers

Ricky Woodham, Safety Consultant

Date: 4/15/2022


Anyone that operates any type of vehicle is feeling the “pain at the pump” due to rising fuel costs. While the increase is having an impact on household budgets, those that operate vehicles for a living, such as commercial motor vehicle carriers, are being hit the hardest.


The domino effect is that those higher fuel costs are being passed down to the consumer. While in recent days there has been some minimal relief, economists are predicting the elevated price of fuel to remain for weeks or even months to come.


As you travel through our nation’s roadways, I’m sure you have witnessed an increase in instances of aggressive and risky driving. One can only assume that some drivers have chosen to take out their economic frustrations from behind the wheel of a vehicle. I personally have also experienced an increase in the number of courteous drivers, which reassures me that aggressive drivers are still the exception rather than the rule. But it also makes me ask the question…is there a correlation between higher fuel prices and safer roads? There is. And the connections might surprise you.


There is a large body of literature that suggests the number of traffic crashes can be attributed to economic conditions. In a growing economy, people tend to drive more often and more carefree. In a declining economy, drivers tend to take fewer trips or combine shorter trips into one long trip and look for ways to improve their miles per gallon (MPG). Many gas-saving tips will not only result in improved fuel economy but also in safer driving. Slowing down, avoiding hard breaking and checking for proper tire pressure are just a few of the good driver habits to develop that will help you to get the most out of your MPG


In addition to fuel prices, studies point to two other specific economic factors that could have an effect on traffic safety: income and unemployment rates. Drivers in lower income brackets find it increasingly difficult to purchase fuel. This often results in them driving less frequently or seeking alternate, less expensive modes of transportation. In a weakened economy with higher unemployment rates, there will be fewer work-related trips and more ride sharing, which could lead to fewer vehicles on the road. Though fuel prices rose rapidly, studies suggest that it could take up to a year to see a what effect fuel cost and other economic factors have on traffic safety.


So what’s the bottom line? As we continue to dig deeper into our pockets every time we pull into a gas station, we can take solace in knowing that history tells us there is a positive correlation between higher fuel prices and safer roads. And that is something that will be a benefit to all the motoring public.


Be safe out there. Do your part!