As the government shutdown grinds into its second week, businesses are discovering many surprising ways the shutdown may disrupt the business world. Most transportation contracts with a fuel surcharge table rely on a small agency called the Energy Information Agency (EIA) within the Department of Energy to report weekly national average diesel prices. Every Monday around 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, someone within your company may visit this website to get the latest average diesel price.
According to Reuters, the EIA will run out of funding on Oct. 11. That means that the Oct. 14 report on average diesel prices will not occur if the shutdown continues.
If the EIA is unable to publish the average diesel price on Oct 14, there is no single free alternative that the industry can rely upon of which we are aware. In the short term, we recommend using the same average price that was published this past Monday Oct 7 by EIA. While it is not ideal to use the Oct 7 prices, compared to potential administrative and billing discrepancies it is the most effective solution in the short term. While it is impossible to know exactly when the government shutdown will end, we will provide an update next Wednesday Oct 16 if it looks like a longer term solution will be needed to adjust fuel surcharges across the industry beyond Oct 21.
While we hope the shutdown is resolved prior to Oct 14, having a contingency plan identified during times of uncertainty always benefits transportation operations. Has your company experienced any unexpected impacts due to the government shutdown?