Ledgers tell true cost of running a trucking company

ATRI finds driver costs exceed fuel expenses

Posted October 20, 2017

Trucking companies experienced an average marginal cost per mile of $1.59 in 2016, according to a recent report by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).

ATRI solicits data from motor carriers annually to determine operational costs associated with running a trucking company. In the updated report, “Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking,” ATRI analyzes operational costs from 2008 through 2016. According to ATRI, its findings provide stakeholders with a benchmark and government agencies with a baseline as they consider improvements to transportation infrastructure.

Quick stats

When comparing motor carrier expenses in 2016 to 2015, ATRI discovered:

  • A decline in fuel costs of 17 percent; and
  • An increase in driver wages and benefits, by 5 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

This is the first time in the study’s history that driver costs exceeded fuel costs for two consecutive years.

ATRI also reported the 2016 data reflected a soft economy for the year, which affected insurance, capacity, and pricing. In addition, costs associated with equipment purchases and repair were found to be increasing due to the sophistication of the vehicles.


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