October 4, 2018

Study: operational costs of trucking climbed 6 percent in 2017

Increase caused by rise in fuel prices, maintenance on more complex vehicles, higher driver wages, ATRI says.

By DC Velocity Staff

The operational costs of trucking continue to climb, reflecting the influence of rising fuel prices and complex vehicle maintenance, according to a report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the trucking industry's non-profit research arm.

The average marginal cost per mile incurred by motor carriers increased six percent to $1.69 over the past year, a report released last Tuesday by Arlington, Va.-based ATRI showed.

The study was an update to a previous report titled "An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking." For that original study, ATRI collected financial data provided directly by motor carriers throughout the country and produced an analysis of trucking costs from 2008 through 2017.

The new release is a 2018 update to that study, and shows that increasing operating costs are caused by a broad range of factors, including:

  • fuel prices that have rebounded from decade-lows,
  • the growing cost and sophistication of newer truck models has driven up costs for both purchasing and repair & maintenance, and
  • driver wages have increased for the fifth consecutive year, pushing the combined cost of driver wages and benefits up to 43 percent of the overall cost per mile.

Visit ATRI's site for a copy of the full report.

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