Last week yet another hurricane plagued the U.S. gulf coast, but damages were minimal compared to this season’s previous storms. It was a busy week in legislation for self-driving vehicles, biodiesel, and combustion engines. California continues to further its goals for emissions reductions, while self-driving cars get the go-ahead from decision makers on a national scale. That being said, it is predicted that the U.S. will lag behind the rest of the developed world in adopting electric trucks.
Hurricane Nate Spares the US Gulf Coast of Catastrophic Damage
Hurricane Nate reached landfall in southeast Louisiana on Saturday night as a category 1 hurricane. Although Hurricane Nate brought flooding and knocked out power to homes and businesses, it lacked the kind of catastrophic damage brought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Hurricane Nate made a second landfall on Sunday and was the first hurricane since Katrina, in 2005, to make landfall in Mississippi. Hurricane Nate also marked the first time, since 2005, that four hurricanes made US landfalls in a single season. Oil companies that had evacuated platforms in the gulf prior to the storm have begun restoring their operations. Industry analysts do not expect any lingering effects on oil or refined product prices from the storm.
Fuel surcharges have a history that dates to the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, but accuracy and financial effectiveness of fuel surcharges varies among carriers. FreightWaves’ Cash Flow Corner, a weekly look at how carriers can maximize their cash flow and minimize their exposure to financial loss through improved cash flow management, introduces Breakthrough®Fuel and Fuel Recovery to be “a solution that calculates the actual price of fuel paid by carriers on each move.” The article closes by stating that if carriers operate in an area of the country in which fuel prices are typically higher than the weekly national average, the carrier may want to consider a program such as Fuel Recovery that uses a more data-centric approach to generate actual fuel costs.
In Other News
The internal combustion engine’s days may be numbered in California, where officials are mulling whether a ban on sales of polluting autos is needed to achieve long-term targets for cleaner air.
The average price of a used Class 8 truck slipped to 6-year lows in August. According to Ritchie Bros., a leading industrial auctioneer, a large number of Mexican bidders bought equipment at its Fort Worth, TX auction in late September, in which it sold $52 million of trucks and equipment.
Ag Processing Inc recently announced that it opposes a recent proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the biodiesel requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard. The EPA proposal could reduce the 2018 biodiesel RFS requirement by up to 315 million gallons and the 2019 requirement by over 1 billion gallons from current levels.
The US Senate unanimously approved legislation that secures a future for self-driving cars in the US. The bill will allow self-driving car makers test their self-driving cars with little hindrance from state governments.
The US Food & Drug Administration is offering a one-hour training module, free of charge, to help carriers meet the requirements of the FDA’s Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food Rule (Sanitary Transportation Rule). The rule requires all rail and motor vehicle carriers within the scope of the rule to provide food safety training to their personnel engaged in transportation operations. This requirement applies when the carrier and shipper have contractually agreed that the carrier is responsible, in whole or in part, for sanitary conditions of goods during transportation. Such carriers are required to establish and maintain records documenting the training of operations personnel.
The world is going electric, and according to a McKinsey Energy Insights report, it is leaving the U.S. behind. According to the report authored by Chrsiter Tryggestand, Namit Sharma, Jasper van de Staaij and Arjan Keizer, because of market dynamics, the U.S. and China are lagging in the development and cost parity needed to make electric trucks viable.