ATRI’s Newest Operational Costs Research Details Spikes in Equipment, Wage, and Total Costs in Trucking


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Contact: Alex Leslie (651) 641-6162

Washington, D.C. – The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released today the findings of its 2023 update to An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking.  A record number of motor carriers participated in this year’s research, which analyzes a wide variety of line-item costs, operating efficiencies, and revenue benchmarks by fleet size and sector.

Total marginal costs climbed to a new high in 2022 for the second year in a row, increasing by 21.3 percent over 2021 to $2.251 per mile.  Though fuel was the largest driver of this spike (53.7% higher than in 2021), multiple other line-items also rose by double digits.  Driver wages increased by 15.5 percent, to $0.724 per mile, reflecting the ongoing industry effort to attract and retain drivers.  Driver benefits, however, remained stable in 2022.

Atypical market conditions posed unique challenges for acquiring and maintaining equipment in 2022.  Truck and trailer payments increased by 18.6 percent to $0.331 per mile as carriers paid higher prices, largely due to equipment impediments in the supply chains.  Closely related, parts shortages and rising technician labor rates pushed repair and maintenance costs up 12 percent to $0.196 per mile.

In response to rising costs, motor carriers initiated improvements in key operational efficiencies.  For example, driver turnover, detention times, and equipment utilization each improved across nearly every fleet size and sector during 2022.  This year’s report includes new metrics such as mileage between breakdowns and the ratio of truck drivers to non-driving employees.

Despite falling rates throughout the year, average operating margins were at least six percent in all sectors.  While larger fleets’ average operating margins improved from 2021 to 2022, smaller fleets saw operating margins decline.

“In a softening market with costs rising at an unparalleled pace, carrier benchmarking becomes more critical than ever,” said Dave Broering, President of NFI Integrated Logistics.  “ATRI’s newest Operational Costs report provides the reliable data and analysis we need to better understand our partners’ underlying costs in a volatile economy and decelerating rate marketplace.”

Since 2008, ATRI has received over 31,000 requests for Operational Costs reports.

A full copy of the report is available through ATRI’s website here.

ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501c3 not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe and efficient transportation system.