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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Operational Costs of Trucking Rises


In what likely comes as no surprise to trucking fleets, one of the newest studies from ATRI shows that the industry’s operational costs are on the rise. ATRI’s recently released 2018 update to the annual Operational Costs of Trucking report documented the average marginal cost per mile incurred by motor carriers in 2017 increased six percent to $1.69.

This analysis uses financial data provided directly by for-hire trucking fleets throughout the country to document and analyze trucking costs on vehicle- and driver-based line items. The initial study was completed in 2008 and has been conducted annually since, yielding a decade of industry operational costs.

Cost increases were broad-based in 2017, with growth in nearly every major line-item over the year. Driver wages increased for the fifth consecutive year and the combined cost of driver wages and benefits represent 43 percent of the overall cost per mile.

Fuel prices rebounded from decade-lows and the growing cost and sophistication of newer truck models  continues to drive up costs for both purchasing and repair and maintenance. Motor carrier operational costs have now surpassed the 10-year average since ATRI began its annual Ops Costs research.

The research also analyzes costs by industry sector, looking separately at Truckload, Less-than-Truckload and Other sector costs. Additionally, the research breaks out costs by region of the country, where fleets that operate primarily in the Northeast experience the highest cost-per-mile of $1.735. The analysis attributes the higher operating costs in the Northeast to extremely dense population centers, major toll facilities, and untenable levels of traffic congestion.

Beyond looking at operating costs, fleets can also use the ATRI Ops Costs findings to benchmark their equipment utilization. The average age of the truck-tractors in ATRI’s sample was 4.9 years, with those trucks averaging 89,804 miles per year.

As with all ATRI studies, the 2018 Operational Costs of Trucking is a free download available at TruckingResearch.org.