ATA's Annual Trends Report Reflects Recovering Trucking Industry

April 17, 2012

Trucking continues to be the dominant mode of freight transportation and an integral part of the U.S. economy, according to American Trucking Associations' 2012 American Trucking Trends report.

In 2011, trucking moved $603.9 billion in freight - more than 80% of all freight transportation revenue. (Photo courtesy of Con-way).



The report gathers statistics from numerous sources in areas such as the size of the industry, trucking performance, fleet demographics, truck sales, taxes, safety, international trade, the environment, and diesel trends.

A few highlights:

- There were more than 1.2 million U.S. interstate motor carriers in the United States in
December 2011; 53% were private carriers.

- Trucking employs 6.8 million people, including more than 3 million drivers. Of those drivers, 4.6% are women and 32.6% are minorities.

- Trucking is the quintessential small business industry, with 90% of motor carriers operating six or fewer trucks and 97.2% operating fewer than 20.

- Overall in 2011, trucking moved $603.9 billion in freight - more than 80% of all freight transportation revenue. That freight weighed 9.2 billion tons - 67% of all freight by weight.

- Class 6-8 trucks traveled 131.2 billion miles in 2010, and all trucks regardless of size traveled 397.8 billion miles.

- In 2011, trucks consumed 37.2 billion gallons of diesel fuel.

ATA reports that the for-hire truckload revenue per mile index rose 5.7% in 2011 from the previous year, following a 4.4% gain in 2010. After plunging 10.9% in 2009, the revenue per mile index has recovered to just below 2008's record 147.0. For the less-than-truckload industry, the average revenue per ton index increased 4.3% in 2011, after falling a combined 16.5% over the previous two years.

"This year's edition of Trends makes it clear that following the Great Recession, trucking continues to lead the nation's economy back into a higher gear," says ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.

Nevertheless, the number of active truck drivers in the U.S. decreased to 3.03 million in 2010. This was a decline of 123,000, or 3.9%, from 2009. The number of truck drivers has declined annually since 2006.

The number of female drivers fell by 25,000 in 2010 to 139,000 and the percentage of minority drivers fell from 33.9% in 2009 to 32.6% in 2010, as the number of African-American and Hispanic drivers entering the driver pool decreased 2.5% and 10.1%, respectively.

For more information:
American Trucking Associations