The cost of fuel has been dropping since June of 2014, and by Jan. 12 had reached a five-year low — which is great news for the touring industry. Based on U.S. Dept. of Energy averages, diesel fuel was running around $3.91 per gallon a year ago, and is currently about $3.13 on a national average. At that rate, an arena tour with 10 trucks and four buses averaging five miles per gallon is saving as much as $22,000 over 30 tour dates and 10,000 miles. Extrapolate that into the summer months, when more than 1,000 buses and 10 times that many touring trucks are on the road, and the industry will save more than $15 million per month from a year ago at current price levels, were they to hold.
Right now, Fielding Logan, a manager at Q Prime South who watches over the touring concerns for such clients as the Black Keys and Eric Church, says he’s seeing the impact of fuel prices on Church’s current arena tour. For the September-December time period, Church’s tour, “saw a savings of about 25 percent in budgeted fuel costs versus actual fuel costs, [resulting in] about $30,000 [saved] over 33 tour dates,” Logan says. “I expect savings would have been better but, while fuel costs went down from our budget, our number of trucks went up.”