The trucking industry refers to transporting large quantities of goods by semi-trailers and large trucks over land. Goods are commonly transported from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centers. Trucks are also used to move large amounts of waste and building materials in the construction industry.
Trucking is responsible for most of the overland freight movement in the United States, with a market worth $791.7 billion in 2019.
So, how many trucking companies are there in the US?
Let’s look into some trucking industry statistics 2021 right here!
According to the US Department of Transportation, there were 996,894 for-hire carriers, 813,440 private carriers, and 83,235 other interstate motor carriers in the US, as of February 2021.
The US transportation system moves around 50 million tons of freight per day, valued at over $53 billion. Most of that freight is moved by truck. Today, the industry finally receives the national recognition it deserves.
Trucking companies, the private sector, and warehouses in the United States employ an estimated 8.9 million people in jobs related to trucking, with nearly 3.5 million truck drivers.
Out of this number, UPS employs 60,000 workers, and 9% are owner-operators. In addition, LTL (less-than-truckload) shippers make up nearly 13.6% of the trucking sector in America.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the US trucking industry encountered new challenges like most industries in the supply chain sector. People started relying on online shopping, which made e-commerce skyrocket.
Trucking companies began rapidly scaling up to ensure they met the demand for essential consumer goods. At the same time, those serving industrial, non-essential retail, or manufacturing sectors witnessed a decline in their businesses and are still trying to recover from that. As a result, 2020 was a turbulent year for every industry.
According to the forecast, trucking companies will face problems, such as labor shortages and rising fuel costs. But there still will be increased demand for freight transport, and market conditions are expected to rebound in 2022.
In addition, the freight transport volumes have shown recovery signs as we reach the year's end after numbers were weak at the start of 2021.
Approximately 3.5 million truck drivers are employed in the United States, out of which 1 in 9 are independent, and most are owner-operators.
The economy of the United States is heavily dependent on the trucking industry, as trucks deliver approximately 70% of annual freight goods in the country. That means trucks help transport retail and manufactured goods worth $671 billion in the United States alone.
You can also add the U.S-Canada truck trade of $295 billion and the U.S-Mexico's truck trade worth $195.6 billion.
The truck driving jobs wages have been increasing steadily for several years now. However, don't forget that truck drivers were paid excessively low wages for a few decades.
Trucking companies have introduced fairer wages for their drivers because they face a CDL driver shortage crisis in the United States, which will only worsen. The current increase in wages is meant to attract more people to a trucking career.
Most trucking companies have installed dash cams in the cabins of their trucks, with some making it a mandatory requirement. Other companies are giving a choice to the drivers.
Most truck drivers aren't comfortable with this. They consider driver-facing dash cams an invasion of their privacy and will even quit their jobs if an employer announces that driver-facing cams aren't an option.
It's not a secret that the trucking industry is male-dominated. Even though it's a racially diverse industry, there has only been a 2% increase in the number of women employed by trucking companies over the last 18 years.
The average median salary offered to truck drivers isn't competitive compared to other sectors. That has contributed to the high turnover rate and difficulty recruiting new drivers for trucking companies.
Here are some statistics that will paint a clearer picture:
According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), trucks move roughly 72.5% of the nation's freight by weight.
Trucking generated $732.3 billion in gross freight revenue, representing 80.4% of the nation's freight weight bill in 2020. In addition, trucks moved 10.23 billion tons of freight in 2020, representing more than 72.5% of total domestic tonnage shipped.
The trucking industry has proven to be vital to the American economy and way of life ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Let's look at some of the financial stats of the US trucking industry.
It is estimated that the average operating ratio for trucking companies is 95.2 cents, which leaves a profit of 4.8 cents for every dollar.
Even though the wages are increasing, truck drivers only make 30.3 cents per mile. The average yearly income for truck drivers is $32,000 per year. The average owner-operator earns more than that.
The trucking industry is estimated to pay $21.4 billion to operate on roads annually.
When it comes to highway taxes, commercial trucks paid $48.6 billion in state and federal highway-user taxes in 2019.
If you want to be a truck owner-operator, now is the best time to start your trucking company. The ongoing trucker shortage, increasing freight demand, and rising rates have made it an excellent time for people to start a trucking business. When establishing a trucking company, you should consider an initial cost of around $6,000 to $15,000 (not including your equipment).
This figure includes registration and formation documentation, which can cost between $900 to $1,500 on average. The IRP plates alone can cost you anywhere between $500 to $3,000 per truck. The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax and permit may cost you $100 to $600 per truck. Plus, you will also need to pay additional state-specific tax of $500 per truck on average.
According to Cargo Transport Alliance, the average gross per truck is between $4,000 and $10,000 per week. That means an owner-operator can earn around $2,000 to $5,000 a week. An investor in a trucking business can make a profit of $500 to $2,000 per truck per week.
However, these figures are subject to variables like:
The United States economy heavily depends on the trucking industry. The economy would have collapsed during the pandemic if there weren’t any small trucking companies. Fortunately, the rising demand for freight, combined with the current trucker shortage, provides you with the ideal opportunity to start your truck business and make a boatload of money.
It can be challenging to start your trucking business, but if you know how to manage your operation, you will also reap the rewards. Additionally, companies with a solid financial plan can capitalize on the anticipated growth of the trucking industry.
There's a lot of benefits in starting your trucking company today, as you can choose which companies to work with, what to haul, and how often to make runs. You will also be better paid as you own the company and get a bigger share of the profits.
Here are some of the steps you must follow if you want to learn how to start a trucking company legally:
Learning how to start a trucking company legally may sound complicated, but it's actually similar to starting any other small business. The equipment costs may be higher, hunting for talent can be more challenging, but the underlying principles of starting a trucking business are the same. With the right business plan, licensure, and financing in place, you can get the ball rolling today.
With the amount of miles truck drivers have to travel daily, mixed with long hours and hard working conditions, it's not a surprise that accidents happen often. Throughout the years, the industry has seen an increase in crashes leading to fatalities. These trucking accidents usually occur due to distracted driving and other driver behaviors.
Trucking companies have also started to take driver safety more seriously to avoid any liabilities. Depending on the incident circumstances, the driver or the company could be liable. The cargo manufacturer or loader could also be responsible should there be any issues when transporting the fleet. In such instances, a freight broker bond can protect the carrier or shipper.
Even though accident statistics involving trucks are horrific, people must know about them to take necessary precautions.
The driver of a large truck may be held liable for an accident for many reasons. For example, they may break the law, have an operational issue, or become distracted. In addition, if they consume drugs or alcohol, they can be held accountable for damages caused.
Contrary to popular belief, drug and alcohol abuse isn't the top cause of truck accidents. The FMCSA conducted The Large Truck Crash Causation Study, which revealed mechanical defects (most often with tires), fatigue, and new tour routes were the most common causes of truck accidents.
Another frequent cause is aggressive driving, but it has directly affected only 5% of truck accident cases.
In addition, 0.5% of crashes were caused due to substance abuse, and 0.4% were due to alcohol consumption.
There were almost 229 million licensed drivers (commercial and civilian) in the United States in 2019.
Approximately 6.75 million motor vehicle accidents occur every year, with around 3 million people injured or disabled.
Current statistics reveal that around one-third of car crash fatalities in the US involve drunk drivers.
In addition, Saturday is the day when most accidents happen, with Friday being the second-worst day for motor vehicle accidents.
According to the records, you can get into an accident driving your car at only five miles per hour and sustain a “whiplash” injury.
If you’re injured in a car accident, it can take some time before your symptoms appear. Clinical experience and medical research have found that delayed symptoms are common after vehicle accidents. Furthermore, delayed symptoms don’t mean that you can’t suffer a severe injury.
People can show no signs of symptoms for weeks, months, and years after the accident.
Although trucks are essential to society's survival, large vehicles can pose a high risk to motorists, especially when truck drivers are negligent, the trucks are left in disrepair, and company owners ignore government safety regulations.
Here are some truck accident statistics:
Truck accidents are becoming more common each year. According to the United States Department of Transportation, over 500,000 truck accidents occur annually.
Truck accidents of all types cause some of the greatest devastation seen on highways today. Every year, more than 5,000 people lose their lives in truck accidents.
More than half of all truck accidents today occur on major roads other than interstates and freeways. More precisely, 57% of fatal truck accidents happen in the rural areas, with 77% of fatal accidents taking place on weekends and 72% in the daytime.
Texas, New York, Georgia, Florida, and California have the highest number of truck accidents. However, Texas leads by a considerable margin: the rate is 137% of that of California, second leading state.
Apart from that, Texas sees 31.5 times more accidents than South Dakota, the state with the fewest truck accidents per year. New York, Florida, and Georgia make the top five. In Florida, Texas, and California, truck accidents average over 7% of all fatal traffic accidents, which is twice higher than America's average.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) reports around 2.5 million intersection accidents annually. Most of these crashes involve left turns. 40% of all crashes include intersections, making it the second-largest category of accidents, led only by rear-end collisions.
In addition, 50% of accidents occur at intersections, and 20% of fatal collisions happen here. Drivers running red lights cause approximately 170,000 accidents at intersections, with nearly 800 of those leading to deaths of passengers, drivers, and pedestrians.
With the rising cost of fuel over time, managing fuel consumption is more important than ever before for the trucking industry. So let’s share some interesting fuel stats here.
The trucking industry consumes about 50 billion of gasoline, about 13% of all the fuel consumption in the US.
The average cost per gallon of fuel in the United States is $3,744. However, it should be noted that the prices vary across the United States.
For example, prices in the Western states are 20% higher than the national average, and in California, they are nearly 50% higher. Conversely, the Midwest and the South prices are about 5% to 10% lower than the national average.
The 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid is the new kid on the block that has blown the truck class away with its standard fuel economy. The Ford Maverick offers a jaw-dropping 37-mpg thanks to its size and a hybrid powertrain. It's a compact truck with lightweight uni-body construction and is similar in size to the Ford Ranger.
The 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid has a base price of $21,490 and a powertrain of 2.5L mild-hybrid I-4 (191 hp). It offers an industry-leading EPA fuel economy of 40 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 37 mpg combined.
The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax was the most fuel-efficient truck in 2020 with its rear-wheel drive and 27 mpg combined. In addition, the truck is rated at 33 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg in the city, making it an excellent option for people looking for a fuel-efficient truck today.
It depends on the truck’s size and load. For example, Class 8 trucks, which typically travel long distances carrying heavy loads, use 11,818 gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) per year, making them the second largest users of fuel in the United States.
Look no further than last year’s best-selling vehicles as proof of America's love for pickup trucks.
Led by pickup trucks from the Detroit automakers, pickups made up five of the industry's 10-best selling vehicles in 2020 despite their increasingly higher prices and the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are the 2020–2021 truck sales numbers and facts you should know.
After years of recovery in demand for vehicles, the US sales growth of cars and light trucks slowed down in 2019 compared with the year before. The slow-down continued as the coronavirus pandemic hit the automobile sector. Sales of trucks in the United States came to around 14.5 million units in 2020, out of which 11 million were light trucks.
With year-end sales of almost 800,000 units, the Ford F-Series was the number 1 selling truck in the United States in 2020. The Ford F-Series is a series of full-size pickup trucks, with the most popular variant being the F-150. The 14th generation of this model was released in 2020.
The Ford F-Series has been the most popular and best-selling truck in the United States for 45 years.
Pickup sales overall continued to roll on in the first half of 2021. Ford, as usual, dominated the sales of the new 2021 model.
The Dodge Ram 2500 won the Truck of the Year in 2020 in heavy-duty trucks. You won’t find a better pickup truck on the market right now. The Ram 2500 is a heavy-duty version of the quarter-ton Ram 1500, with a burlier gas V-8 or a Cummins turbo diesel I-6 with ludicrous torque figures.
If you’re looking for the most reliable truck, there is no better option on the market today than the Toyota Tundra. The survey compiled by Consumer Report revealed that the Tundra scored the highest for eight consecutive years. In addition, there hasn’t been a major redesign of the truck since 2007.
The Honda Ridgeline comes first in the category of trucks most likely to last 200,000 miles. Nearly 3% of older versions of the Honda Ridgeline have reached the 200,000-mile mark. It’s a midsize, compact truck with five seatings, good safety ratings, and horsepower between 250 and 280 depending on the model year.
The Ridgeline doesn't have the same towing and payload capacities as other trucks. However, if your primary concern is longevity, the Honda Ridgeline is the most likely to deliver.
The Dodge Ram 1500 is the best truck to buy in 2021 as it compares favorably with other trucks in the market due to its combination of power, fuel economy, and the best-in-class cabin.
Top trims like the Limited and Limited Longhorn have leather-lined interiors that beat many luxury cars and SUVs. The ride provided by the optional air suspension is superb, and despite its size, the Ram 1500 is easy to drive.
New and experienced drivers alike often ask the question, "What are the best and worst trucking companies to work for in the US?" Once you've completed your training for a CDL career as a truck driver, you’ll obviously prefer working for America’s best trucking company.
However, as the popular saying goes, "Different strokes for different folks" — you and your fellow truck driver may choose different trucking companies to work for.
Schneider is a financially sound company, which is pretty important when you're starting your trucking career. It doesn’t have any team driver training but a three-week, highly structured training program. So you will spend less time with a mentor on the road than most trucking companies.
The companies you want to avoid as a truck driver are CR England, Star Transportation, and Gardner Trucking, all of whom pay the lowest average wages out there at $31,200.
H.O. Wolding Inc. is a privately owned dry freight carrier located in Amherst, Wisconsin. One of the best parts about the company is that its driver turnover ratio remains low. In addition, it’s well-managed and is renowned for the excellent treatment of truck drivers.
The company has received rave reviews from its employees.
FedEx Freight is a less-than-truckload shipping company and a subset of the FedEx corporation. The company not only offers trucking services but air and ocean freight shipping as well. According to the company's website, FedEx Freight has around 25,000 trucks in operation, 43,000 team members, and an average daily shipment volume of 105,000.
FedEx Freight generated $7,352 million in revenue in 2018, a 16% year-on-year increase.
Technology advanced rapidly, and companies such as Tesla, Google, and Uber heavily invested their resources in developing self-driving trucks. Automated shipping is their end goal, where driverless trucks will pick up and deliver their shipments without any hassles.
However, does that bode well for today's truck drivers? Let’s look at how self-driving trucks will affect the immediate and distant future of truck drivers in the US.
There are an estimated 3.6 million truck drivers in the US right now. Surely, these jobs aren't gonna evaporate immediately, but there will be a trickle-down effect when autonomous shipping and driverless trucks become the norm in the future.
Driverless technology may be in the development stages, but it could signal the end for truck drivers in the US. Most experts agree that the shipping market will be revolutionized by driverless trucks over time, which will be beneficial for shippers and eliminate the demand for truck driver jobs in the United States.
Even though most people believe that self-driving and autonomous trucks will put drivers out of work, these trucks will still need human supervision.
Autonomous trucks will be good for truckers as they can decrease the chances of driver accidents on the road. Human errors cause most trucking accidents, but with this technology, an error is highly minimal.
Self-driving trucks will also positively impact the industry and the environment. They will increase safety on the road, lower transportation costs, and reduce carbon emissions.
Even though the trucking industry has recently undergone major changes, it remains one of the most profitable sectors in America. Moreover, self-driving trucks are the trucking industry's future.
New technology can be scary to an industry that's been doing well for years, but embracing the change will create a safer environment overall.
The first self-driving freight trucks will need a driver sitting in the truck's cab, though they won't be the one behind the wheel. Instead, they will take over the driving should a technological failure occur.
Since the US trucking industry is a lucrative source of income for the country’s economy, many businesses rely on it for everyday operations. It represents more than half of the nation's freight bill. For-hire and private carriers make up most of the trucking companies in the United States.
Freight trucks carry various consumer goods, including everything from food to cars to raw materials and oil. As the American Trucking Association puts it, every good in the United States has been on a truck at some point during its journey.
United Parcel Service is an American shipping and receiving and supply chain management company founded in 1907.
Originally known as the American Messenger Company specializing in telegraphs, UPS has grown to become a Fortune 500 company and one of the world's largest shipping couriers.
It employs approximately 543,000 employees and has a revenue of $84.63 billion, which makes it the number 1 trucking company in the United States.
If you adjust for inflation, you will find truck drivers, on average, earn $10,000 less annually compared to what they made 40 years ago. However, that doesn't mean you can't make a fortune in the trucking industry. If you look at the list of billionaires released by Forbes, you will notice seven names from the trucking industry.
At the top of the richest truck driver list sit the founders of Love’s Travel Stops, Tom and Judy Love, with a combined net worth of $7 billion.
The latest world's billionaires list released by Forbes revealed that Tom and Judy Love ranked number 209, becoming the trucking industry's most prosperous couple. They have approximately $7 billion in their holdings, which makes Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores the richest trucking chain in the industry.
According to the US Department of Transportation, there were 996,894 for-hire carriers, 813,440 private carriers, and 83,235 other interstate motor carriers in the US, as of February 2021.
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