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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 05-214



Continuation of Fuel Cost Recovery Surcharge

[35 Pa.B. 715]

Public Meeting held
January 13, 2005

Commissioners Present: Wendell F. Holland, Chairperson; Robert K. Bloom, Vice Chairperson; Glen R. Thomas; Kim Pizzingrilli

Continuation of Fuel Cost Recovery Surcharge; S. P. 28208


By the Commission:

   The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (Commission) by its Fuel Cost Recovery Surcharge Order at Special Permission Number 28208, ratified June 10, 2004, authorized call or demand, paratransit and airport transfer carriers under the jurisdiction of this Commission to adjust rates and fares to offset significant increases in the cost of fuel. The Order was amended by this Commission at the Public Meeting of November 18, 2004 in response to a petition presented by The Brotherhood of Unified Taxi Drivers/Owners, in which this Commission was requested to increase the amount of the surcharge in consideration of higher prices in the vicinity of Philadelphia.

   Initially, all call or demand carriers were authorized a fuel surcharge of thirty cents ($.30) per trip for each paying passenger, and all paratransit and airport transfer carriers were authorized a fuel surcharge of seventy cents ($.70) per trip for each paying customer. Medallion taxicabs were authorized to charge fifty cents ($.50) per trip (including trips to and from Philadelphia International Airport) for each paying customer as a result of the amendment of the Public Meeting of November 18, 2004. The fuel surcharge is to be in addition to officially filed tariff rates. The fuel surcharge became effective on June 14, 2004, and is scheduled to terminate on June 12, 2005.

   The order required the Bureau of Transportation and Safety to investigate the merits of the fuel surcharge on a quarterly basis, beginning September 30, 2004. As a result of the first quarterly evaluation performed in September of 2004, this Commission ordered the continuation of the fuel surcharge. Furthermore, data gathered by the Bureau of Transportation and Safety in the course of evaluating the petition of The Brotherhood of Unified Taxi Drivers/Owners indicated that it was reasonable to consider amending the order for an increased surcharge for Medallion Taxicabs serving the Philadelphia area.

   In the process of conducting the second quarterly investigation, the Bureau analyzed current information available from the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy, the American Automobile Association, and OPIS Energy Group. Due to the amendment of the fuel surcharge on November 18, 2004, data has also been gathered which is relevant to the Philadelphia area served by Medallion Taxicabs.

   At the time of approval of the fuel surcharge the average retail cost of regular gasoline was $2 per gallon. It is also relevant to consider that Medallion Taxicabs were operating under a tariff in effect since 1991, at which time the average cost of gasoline was $1.20. In the interval of October through early December of 2004, the average retail price of regular gasoline on the East Coast of the United States was $1.99 per gallon. The average price of regular gasoline in the Philadelphia area was $2.01 during this period. These figures indicate an increase since the evaluation for the first three months of the fuel surcharge. There has been no substantial change since the inception of the fuel surcharge.

   In consideration of future prospects for retail gasoline prices, the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy was consulted. Gasoline prices during the months of October and December of 2004 were affected by several factors, the most significant of which were rising prices of crude oil (over $50 per barrel) and reduced output in the Gulf of Mexico during the severe hurricanes. These situations have eased, but the Department of Energy reports that it is likely that gasoline prices are likely to rise by ten to fifteen cents per gallon by May of 2005.

   After due consideration, we have determined that fuel costs have not substantially decreased. Based upon the evidence available, we are of the opinion that the passenger motor carrier industry continues to have a need for the fuel surcharge to permit the recovery of unanticipated fuel expenditures; Therefore,

It Is Ordered That:

   1.  The fuel surcharge established at Special Permission No. 28208 be continued.

   2.  The fuel surcharge as amended for Medallion Taxicabs serving the Philadelphia area be continued.

   3.  The Secretary of this Commission shall duly certify this order and deposit same with the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 05-214. Filed for public inspection January 28, 2005, 9:00 a.m.]

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