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Trucking costs soared in 2021, led by jump in diesel prices | I-75 closure planned

Updated Aug 15, 2022

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022:

ATRI average marginal costs per mileThis breakdown shows how much various costs contribute to carriers' operational cost per mile.ATRIThe cost of trucking in 2021 increased to its highest level in the 15-year history of the American Transportation Research Institute’s annual Operational Costs of Trucking research -- $1.855 per mile.

Though fuel saw the single largest jump in expense (a 35.4% increase to 41.7 cents per mile), nearly every other line-item cost center also grew or remained constant. Even when fuel costs are removed, the marginal costs of trucking increased by 10 cents between 2020 and 2021, from $1.338 to $1.438.

Costs per hour were $74.65. Despite a slightly lower average truck operating speed than in 2020, costs per hour in 2021 also reached the highest levels recorded by ATRI since it began analyzing these costs. 

Truck and trailer lease or purchase costs set another record high, rising 3% to 27.9 cents per mile in 2021, ATRI found. The firm said the modest increase was likely due to carriers’ lack of ability to acquire new trucks because of lack of availability.

The same was true of repair and maintenance costs, which had the largest-ever annual spike as carriers faced unfavorable equipment markets. Repair and maintenance costs rose 18.2% from 2020 to 2021 and were the second-fastest- growing cost, only behind fuel.

Within ATRI’s data set, insurance premium costs declined slightly in 2021 -- by a tenth of a cent, while tire costs declined by two tenths of a cent. ATRI said the likely cause of the stagnation in insurance costs was larger carriers taking on more direct risk and reducing their insurance premiums, but increasing their out-of-pocket costs.

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