We see trucks on the roads of the USA every day, carrying essential freight to all corners and every state of the USA. But how big is the trucking industry in the USA? It’s a great question and one that we’ll answer in the article that follows. Trucking may have begun in the USA and our road network is largely based around the need to carry goods long distances. We’ll be looking at some of the statistics that apply to the US trucking industry, and bringing you some interesting facts about trucking, so let’s not hang about!
How Many Trucks on the Road?
The trucking industry is not just about trucks and drivers, but also about peripheral suppliers. Parts suppliers such as are essential to the upkeep of the many trucks on the road in the USA, and there are many more businesses in the line including the manufacturers and suppliers of truck parts and accessories.
To give a quick glimpse of the sheer size and might of the trucking industry, there are around a 1.9million trucks in service at any one time.
That’s a huge amount – and that figure applies to the heavier classes of trucks – in any sphere, but for road vehicles carrying freight, it’s colossal. The reason there are so many is that the USA relies on trucks to carry 70% of the freight that needs moving from one place to another. The roads are more direct than rail and far cheaper than flight, hence the popularity of heavy trucks. So, now we have an idea of the size of these numbers, let’s talk about what the industry is worth.
How Much is the Industry Worth?
As we know that most US freight goes by road it should be clear that the value of the trucking industry is vast. Indeed, it is said that for the year 2019, the industry was worth a little under $800 billion. That’s a massive chunk of the US economy on 18 wheels doing a year right there! In fact, the total combined mileage of all trucks on the roads comes to around 140 billion miles per year, with an individual truck traveling between 45,000 miles – that’s the average for ordinary semi-truck drivers – to 100,000 miles for long-haul truckers.
The sheer amount of time that is spent alone on the roads makes trucking a job for a certain type of person, but it’s worth knowing there are some 3 million people in the USA with the profession of truck drivers. You may wonder why there are more drivers than trucks. This is because there are strict rules as to how long a driver can spend behind the wheel, so on some longer journeys the driving will be split between two drivers taking it in turns to keep the truck moving and reach the destination on time.
Who Makes the Trucks?
We’ve talked about the miles and the money, now let’s talk about trucks! Who doesn’t love a massive, US-style semi-truck, the huge 16-wheelers that are the staple of the industry? You might think the biggest would be the massive automobile manufacturers like Ford or General Motors. Where light trucks are concerned, you’d be right: the Ford F-series of trucks is the biggest seller, with the RAM series next in line, and the Chevy Silverado series following. But we’re not talking about these everyday trucks, we’re interested in the big guys!
The number 1 name in Class 7 and 8 trucks is Freightliner, who have 40% of the market share. They make 190,000 trucks every year. A division of the Daimler Group, they are the specialists in the two heavyweight classes. Behind Freightliner you’ll find Kenworth with its range of Class 8 semi-trucks and a market share of around 15%, which is similar to trucking legends Peterbilt, who have been in the business for more than 80 years. Today, both these brands belong to the same group.
International – you may know them by former name International Harvester – come next in order of sales with their Class 7 and 8 range, and 5th on the list is Volvo, one of the major truck manufacturers worldwide. The Volvo portfolio of truck brands includes another US icon – Mack – as well as making Class 8 trucks under its own name.
We hope we’ve given you a good idea of the size and scope of the trucking industry, as well as highlighting the importance of this long-established industry in the USA. Trucking is a way of life for many drivers, and a profession one has to dedicate to absolutely, and as long as freight is moved by road the US trucking industry will remain an important and notable contributor to the overall economy of the USA.
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