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Driver wages, benefits outpace fuel costs in 2016, ATRI reports

By The Trucker Staff
Posted Oct 19th 2017 12:03PM

ARLINGTON, Va. — Increasing driver wages and benefits outpaced lower fuel costs in 2016 the American Transportation Research Institute said Wednesday in releasing the findings of its 2017 update to “An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking.”

Using financial data provided directly by motor carriers throughout the country, the research documents and analyzes trucking costs from 2008-2016 providing trucking industry stakeholders with a high-level benchmarking tool and government agencies with a baseline for future transportation infrastructure improvement analyses.

The average marginal cost per mile in 2016 was $1.59.

Key line items that impacted this year's costs include a decline in fuel costs of 17 percent from 2015, while driver wages and benefits increased by 5 percent and 18 percent, respectively, over last year's figures.

And for the second year in a row since ATRI started collecting the industry's operational costs data, driver costs now represent a higher percentage of overall costs than fuel.

ATRI said a clear underpinning of the 2016 data was the soft economy last year, and the myriad implications that has on insurance, capacity and pricing.

In addition, the sophistication of 21st century trucks is driving up equipment costs for both purchasing and repair and maintenance.

New to this year's report are findings on safety and performance bonuses and incentive amounts that carriers are paying to attract and retain the best drivers.


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