Survey: Driver pay tops carriers’ costs again

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What’s the largest expense for U.S. trucking companies?

If you happen to drive for one, then you are.

A new survey from the American Transportation Research Institute shows carriers in 2016 on average spent a total of $1.592 per mile in 2016. ( That compares to$1.575 per mile in 2015.) Here’s how that spending breaks out:

  • 52.3 cents a mile on driver wages, which is up by 2.4 cents from 2015
  • 15.5 cents a mile on driver benefits in 2016, another 2.4-cent increase
  • 33.5 cents per mile for fuel, down from 40.3 cents a mile in 2015
  • 3.5 cent a mile for tires, slightly less than one cent down from 2015’s amount
  • 25.5 cents per mile for truck and trailer leasing and purchases, a 2.5-cent hike from a year ago
  • 16.6 cents per mile for maintenance and repairs, which is up by one cent
  • 7.5 cents per mile for insurance
  • 2.2 cents per mile for special permits and licenses
  • 2.7 cents per mile for tolls, which was up from 2 cents per mile in 2015

Another interesting finding shows that 74.8 percent of respondents said they use electronic logging devices; an 11 percent increase from 2015.

ATRI said the survey’s respondents accounted for about 89,700 trucks and 412,000 trailers. Their truckers drove a total almost 9 billion vehicle miles in 2016, compared to 6.6 billion miles reported in 2015.

And, the researchers say the industry can expect more of the same when they look at data from this year. ATRI said, “with the same driver shortage factors holding firmly in place and a number of indications that average diesel prices will slowly rise.”