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IndustryOperationalCosts on the Rise Again


BY REBECCA M. BREWSTER Guest Writer


Benchmarking fleet financial performance


is a key way that carriers keep costs in check and identify areas where operational efficiencies can be gained. Since 2008, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has provided the industry with a key benchmarking tool through its publication, Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking. ATRI recently released the findings of its


2015 update to the “Ops Costs” report and motor carrier costs are on the rise again this year. Te research, which identifies trucking costs from 2008 through 2014 derived directly from fleets’ financial and operational data, serves several critical functions. First, motor carriers can use the findings to assess their own


Motor Carrier Costs


VEHICLE-BASED Fuel Costs


Truck/Trailer Lease or Purchase Payments


Repair & Maintenance


Truck Insurance Premiums Permits and Licenses Tires Tolls


DRIVER-BASED Driver Wages Driver Benefits


TOTAL 10 2008 $0.633


$0.213 $0.103 $0.055 $0.016 $0.030 $0.024


$0.435 $0.144 $1.653


fleet’s financial performance against that of their peers in the industry. Second, the data provides an important input for public sector transportation analyses to better quantify the value of future infrastructure investment utilizing real-world data rather than modeled or speculative motor carrier costs. Te average marginal cost per mile to


operate a truck in 2014 was $1.70, representing a 2.7 cent increase over 2013. Fuel prices fell throughout 2014, which


reduced the fuel cost per mile from the previous year — $0.583 per mile down from $0.645 per mile in 2013. Even so, fuel costs still represent the costliest line item, representing 34 percent of the total cost per mile. Combined, fuel and driver costs (wages and


2009 $0.405


$0.257 $0.123 $0.054 $0.029 $0.029 $0.024


$0.403 $0.128 $1.451


2010 $0.486


$0.184 $0.124 $0.059 $0.040 $0.035 $0.012


$0.446 $0.162 $1.548


2011 $0.590


$0.189 $0.152 $0.067 $0.038 $0.042 $0.017


$0.460 $0.151 $1.706


benefits), account for 69 percent of the total cost per mile. Driver wages saw an increase in 2014, up to $0.462 per mile from $0.44 the previous year. It is expected that this figure will continue to increase as fleets compete to recruit and retain the best drivers in the face of a growing driver shortage. In this year’s analysis, the overall increase


in the cost per mile was primarily driven by increases in truck and trailer lease and purchase payments, as well as higher truck insurance premiums. ATRI’s analysis breaks out costs by industry sector and the higher truck and trailer lease purchase payments were particularly evident among the Specialized sector, where carriers accounted for the higher cost of specialized equipment when expanding or replacing their fleets.


2012 $0.641


$0.174 $0.138 $0.063 $0.022 $0.044 $0.019


$0.417 $0.116 $1.633


NEBRASKA TRUCKER — ISSUE 5, 2015 — www.nebtrucking.com 2013 $0.645


$0.163 $0.148 $0.064 $0.026 $0.041 $0.019


$0.440 $0.129 $1.676


2014 $0.583


$0.215 $0.158 $0.071 $0.019 $0.044 $0.023


$0.462 $0.129 $1.703


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