Last Updated on November 17, 2023
A fuel surcharge is the price a trucking company charges the shipper to make up for increases in fuel costs due to fluctuating diesel prices. Oftentimes, a freight company will calculate its cost to haul a load according to a baseline fuel price, but at the time the load is ready to ship, the cost of fuel has increased. Because fuel is a major expense for owner-operators, this additional cost is often passed on to the shipper as a fuel surcharge, which is charged on a per mile basis.
You can manually calculate your fuel surcharge price (which we’ve included instructions on how to do below) or you can use altLINE’s fuel surcharge calculator to easily see how much to charge.
How to Use the Fuel Surcharge Calculator
The fuel surcharge calculator helps you quickly determine the surcharge you should charge shippers. To calculate your fuel surcharge, input the following values and click the “Calculate” button:
- Fuel Baseline Price: The fuel baseline price is the cost of diesel fuel at the time the shipment was booked.
- Average Miles per Gallon: This is the estimated fuel consumption of your truck. This will vary based on the type of freight you haul, truck you drive, etc.
- Average Diesel Price: This is the average cost of diesel fuel at the time the shipment is made.
You can get up-to-date information about the cost of diesel fuel from the US Energy Information Administration.
How to Calculate Fuel Surcharge
If you’d like to manually calculate the fuel surcharge or you’d like to better understand how the above calculator works, don’t worry! We’ll walk you through the steps for calculating your fuel surcharge below.
As previously mentioned, you’ll need three numbers to calculate fuel surcharge: fuel baseline price, average miles per gallon (also known as your fuel consumption), and average price of diesel fuel at the time the shipment is made. You can use the following formula to calculate your fuel surcharge:
Fuel Surcharge = (Average Diesel Price – Fuel Baseline Price) / Average Miles per Gallon
Example of Calculating Fuel Surcharge
To illustrate, let’s consider the following example in which your fuel baseline price is $2.75, your average miles per gallon is 6, and the average diesel price at the time of shipment is $3.50. You would calculate the fuel surcharge as follows:
Fuel Surcharge = ($3.50 – $2.75) / 6
Fuel Surcharge = $0.75 / 6
Fuel Surcharge per Mile = $0.13
Total Fuel Surcharge: 0.13 x 500
Total Fuel Surcharge: $65.00
Based on this calculation, you should charge a fuel surcharge of $0.13 per mile for a total fuel surcharge of $65.00; however, keep in mind that fuel surcharge costs can be negotiated by both the driver and the shipper.
Need Funding for Your Trucking Company?
If you’re an owner-operator in need of financing for your trucking company, freight factoring may be the solution you’re looking for. Freight factoring is a scalable funding option for those in the trucking industry and helps truckers get paid in a matter of days, rather than weeks. If you’re interested in learning more about how altLINE’s freight factoring can help your company, give us a call at +1 (205) 607-0811 or fill out our quote form.
Angela is the Director of Online Marketing at altLINE where she manages content production, marketing and sales operations, and digital PR. Angela joined altLINE in 2022 after several years of working in digital marketing across various industries including financial services and B2B. Angela loves creating content that helps readers better understand their financing options and helps them make informed decisions about factoring. Her work has been featured in publications like Search Engine Journal and Moz.