Trucking costs reach record highs

by Today's Trucking

Trucking was more expensive in 2021 than ever before, according to the latest Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).

The total cost of trucking increased 12.7% in 2021, to US$1.855 per mile, according to the study of U.S. fleets. That’s the highest cost on record, and was driven by fuel (+35.4% compared to 2020), repair and maintenance costs (+18.2%), and driver wages (+10.8%).

costs illustration
(Illustration: iStock)

Collectively, costs were up US$74.65 per hour compared to the previous year.

Smaller fleets were hit hardest, with fleets running 100 or fewer trucks seeing their costs increase 4.9 cents a mile more than larger fleets.

Driver compensation averaged 80.9 U.S. cents a mile, a 10% increase over 2020, ATRI reports.

In response, fleets decreased deadhead miles to 14.8% and improved average fuel economy to 6.65 miles per gallon.

“The last couple years have created great uncertainties in trucking, but ATRI’s newest Operational Costs report provides critical data and insights into the trends and anomalies that emerged in 2021. As the report hints, the coming year holds opportunity for continued growth in our industry,” said Ozark Motor Lines chief financial officer Jason Higginbotham.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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