ATLANTA — According to The American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) 2022 update, the total marginal cost of trucking grew by 12.7% in 2021 to $1.855 per mile, the highest on record.
Leading contributors to this increase were fuel (35.4% higher than in 2020), repair and maintenance (18.2% higher than in 2020), and driver wages (10.8% higher than in 2020). On a cost-per-hour basis, costs increased to $74.65.
The trucking industry experienced many new, atypical market conditions in 2021 and their effects can clearly be seen in the Ops Costs data, according to ATRI officials.
Overall, fleets with 100 or fewer trucks spent 4.9 cents more per mile than fleets with more than 100 trucks – closing the 2020 gap with larger fleets by 70%. While larger fleets spent less than smaller fleets on insurance premiums per mile, the advantage was offset by higher out-of-pocket incident costs per mile for large fleets.
In response to the truck driver shortage, total driver compensation at $0.809 per mile was 10% higher than in 2020.
Faced with challenges throughout the supply chain, carriers emphasized greater efficiency, according to ATRI.
Empty or “deadhead” mileage decreased to 14.8%, and average truck fuel economy increased to 6.65 miles per gallon.
This year’s report includes several new efficiency metrics, such as annualized driver turnover, average dwell time at shipper facilities and revenue per truck. The financial health of trucking remained strong throughout 2021 despite spiking costs, with an average operating margin in most sectors at 10%.
“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,” Ozark Motor Lines Chief Financial Officer Jason Higginbotham said.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.