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New ATRI Research Shows Trucking Industry’s Operational Costs Continue to Climb

Arlington, Virginia – The American Transportation Research Institute today released the findings of its 2018 update to An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking.  Using financial data provided directly by motor carriers throughout the country, this research documents and analyzes trucking costs from 2008 through 2017 – providing trucking industry stakeholders with a high-level benchmarking tool, and government agencies with a baseline for future transportation infrastructure improvement analyses.

With economic activity strengthening in 2017, the average marginal cost per mile incurred by motor carriers increased six percent to $1.69.  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.

ATRI’s 2018 report also includes a new “Industry Sector in Focus” analysis, this year reporting operational costs for tank fleet operators.

“ATRI’s Operational Costs research is such a powerful tool for fleets of all sizes.  Better understanding how our costs stack up against our industry peers enables us to implement operational efficiencies and improve our bottom line,” said Dean Kaplan, K-Limited Carrier CEO.

Since its original publication in 2008, ATRI has received over 16,000 requests for the Operational Costs reports.

A copy of this report is available here.

ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system. 

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