While rising fuel prices have caused some concern in the light-truck and car markets, they have yet to make a big impact on heavy- and medium-duty trucking, says Chris Visser, senior analyst with the ATD/NADA Official Commercial Truck Guide,
in an interview with NADA-TV's news program, "AutoFocus with David Hyatt."

But if prices continue to rise, slowing the overall economy, truck retailing could feel the effects of slowdowns in industrial production and, in turn, freight movement, Visser says.

The national average for on-highway diesel topped $4 a gallon for the first time since mid-September 2008 during the week ending April 11, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration. Prices jumped 10.2 cents last week to $4.078 - just more than $1 higher than the same week last year.

"The trucking industry exists to move freight," Visser says. "So unless fuel prices get to the point where the overall economic recovery is impacted, we're not going to see much change in trucking purchases."

Despite rising fuel prices and supply shortages stemming from the earthquake in Japan, the used-truck market continues to accelerate. According to a report by the ATD/NADA Official Commercial Truck Guide, the average mileage, age and selling price of sleeper tractors continue to climb in tandem. In fact, the average selling price for these trucks in February hit its highest point since September 2008, at $44,581. Used truck buyers will likely see the disaster in Japan as temporary, Visser says, and supply and demand will continue to push up mileage, age and selling price.