Base your fuel surcharge on the average retail price of diesel fuel for the region where you pick up a load on the day you load. This average retail price information is collected by the federal government's Energy Information Administration and updated every Monday unless affected by a federal holiday.
You can get the information by going to this Web site:
Most companies begin imposing a fuel surcharge when the price of fuel goes above $1.10 per gallon. They assume that their basic freight rates cover their costs when fuel is $1.10 and lower. When the price goes higher than $1.10 per gallon they impose a fuel surcharge to recoup those higher costs.
Here's a formula you can use to calculate your increased fuel costs and the amount of a fuel surcharge you should charge and collect
First, gather these numbers: The total billable miles for a load, say, 400 miles. Your truck's average miles per gallon, say, 9.5 mpg. And, the average retail price of diesel fuel for the region where you pick up a load on the day you load (check the EIA Website), say $2.45 per gallon.
Now do the math:
Figure your increased fuel costs per gallon by subtracting your benchmark price from the actual regional price of fuel for the period when you moved the load.
Divide the premium you paid for fuel by your average miles per gallon.
Finally, multiply the Fuel Premium Per Mile by the billable miles for the load. (This does not include deadhead miles.)
Click the calculate button in the form below and it will calculate the Surcharge for this load for you.
To figure a surcharge on a real load simply replace our red numbers with your actual numbers and our calculator will then figure the surcharge for you.
NOTE: Small business owner-operators and motor carriers do not need to get government approval or file an application with DOT to implement a fuel surcharge.