The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), Arlington, Va., released the findings of its 2019 update to “An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking.” Using detailed financial data provided directly by motor carriers of all sectors and fleet sizes, this research annually documents and analyzes trucking costs from 2008-2018.

The average marginal cost per mile incurred by motor carriers in 2018 increased 7.7% to $1.82. Costs rose in every cost center except tires, with fuel costs experiencing the highest year-over-year growth of 17.7%. Meanwhile, insurance costs saw the second fastest year-over-year growth at 12%. As a strategic response to the severe driver shortage that existed in 2018, driver wages and benefits increased 7% and 4.7%, respectively – representing 43% of all marginal costs in 2018.

Repair and maintenance (R&M) costs, at 17.1 cents per mile in 2018, increased 24% since 2012 – a counterintuitive increase given the record sales of new trucks and trailers. From 2012-2018, overall motor carrier operational costs have increased more than 11.6%, exceeding the 10.8% inflation rate for that same time period.