The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), Arlington, Va., released the findings of its 2018 update to “An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking.” Using financial data provided directly by motor carriers nationwide, this research documents and analyzes trucking costs from 2008-2017, providing a high-level benchmarking tool and a baseline for future transportation infrastructure improvement analyses.

With economic activity strengthening in 2017, the average marginal cost per mile incurred by motor carriers increased 6% to $1.69. Cost increases were broad-based in 2017, with growth in nearly every major line-item over the year. Driver wages increased for the fifth consecutive year and the combined cost of driver wages and benefits represent 43% of the overall cost per mile.

Fuel prices rebounded from decade-lows and the growing cost and sophistication of newer truck models continues to drive up costs for both purchasing and repair and maintenance. Motor carrier operational costs have now surpassed the 10-year average since ATRI began its annual Ops Costs research.

ATRI's 2018 report also includes a new "Industry Sector in Focus" analysis, reporting operational costs for tank fleet operators.