Tags: UCLA | Pulse | Diesel | Index

UCLA Pulse: Diesel Index Rises 0.3 Percent in March

Thursday, 05 April 2012 07:12 AM

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index, a real-time measure of the flow of goods to U.S. factories, retailers and consumers, rose 0.3 percent in March following a 0.7 percent increase in February and the 1.7 percent decrease in January.

The seasonally adjusted Ceridian-UCLA index, which tracks fuel purchases by over-the-road trucks, was down 2.2 percent year-over-year in March.

The first quarter PCI came in below the fourth quarter of last year by 4.9 percent at an annualized rate.

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index, issued by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Ceridian Corp., is based on real-time diesel-fuel consumption data for over-the-road trucking and serves as an indicator of the state and possible future direction of the U.S. economy.

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By tracking the volume and location of fuel being purchased, the index closely monitors the over-the-road movement of raw materials, goods-in-process and finished goods to U.S. factories, retailers and consumers.

Every day across the United States, over-the-road trucks fuel up with diesel as they move goods across the country, delivering everything from produce to raw materials to finished goods, Ceridian says.

"Through Ceridian's electronic card payment services for the transportation industry, Ceridian has been able to track this data and analyze the volume of fuel being used by these vehicles on a yearly, monthly, weekly and daily basis. Ceridian processes millions of these fuel transactions each year, and the data provides a compelling story about the status and direction of the U.S. economy."

"Every time an over-the-road truck makes a diesel fuel purchase using a Ceridian card, Ceridian's database captures the location and number of gallons pumped into the tank. Each transaction acts like a sensor providing data to Ceridian."

Ceridian then analyzes the data to provide a detailed picture of over-the-road trucking activity across the country.

Manufacturing is improving in the U.S. and China, all at a time when oil prices are soaring thanks to ongoing tensions in the Middle East and rising demand in general.

A more robust manufacturing sector will hike up demand for diesel fuel, which could ultimately mean more jobs albeit at time of rising fuel costs.

"If they're producing, that means they're selling things," PFGBest analyst Phil Flynn says, according to the Associated Press.

"It means the economy is improving. We could be getting more jobs out of it in the future, and that gets people excited."

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