Screenshot via ATRI

Screenshot via ATRI

The American Transportation Research Institute has found that increases to driver wages and benefits outpaced declines in fuel costs in 2016. The findings were published in the 2017 update of ATRI’s An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking.

The average marginal cost per mile in 2016 was $1.59. One of the key factors impacting that number was a decline in fuel costs of 17% from 2015. However, during the same period, driver wages and benefits increased 5% and 18%, respectively.

As a result, for the second year in a row since ATRI started collecting industry operational cost data, driver costs now represent a higher percentage of overall costs than does fuel. 

A clear underpinning of the 2016 data was the soft economy last year, and the myriad implications that had on insurance, capacity, and pricing, according to ATRI.  Additionally, modern trucks have driven up equipment costs for both purchasing and repair and maintenance.

New to this year's report are findings on safety and performance bonus and incentive amounts that carriers are paying to attract and retain the best drivers.

The full report is available at