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Life Without Trucks
Can you imagine a world without trucks? Trucking isn’t just the lifeblood of the American economy, it is inextricably interwoven with the fabric of the American way of life. Let’s take a fun look at some of the notable facts about the American trucking industry.
Lunar Weigh Station?
15.5 million commercial trucks ride up and down the nation’s interstates and highways every year. If these trucks were stacked end to end, they would cover a distance of 240,000 miles, which just happens to be the distance of the Earth to the moon.
If you were to paint a mosaic of the average American truck driver, he would be a 33 year old male from Florida, driving a distance of 105,000 miles a year. There are over 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. alone.
Trucks on the Silver Screen
The 70s were a boom period for truck driving movies. Steven Spielberg’s thriller Duel, the incomparable Smokey and the Bandit, the Chuck Norris vehicle Breaker! Breaker!, and Convoy were all major hits.
All the Stats Fit to Print
To understand the relevance of truck driving in the U.S. and around the world, you have to dig into the numbers. Here are some that demonstrate what trucking means to the American economy:
- Truck drivers will earn an average income of $55,000 in 2013.
- Trucks are responsible for 28.6% of all U.S. freight transportation.
- The top four truck manufacturers are Isuzu (with 453,379 units produced every year), Daimler (453,379), Paccar (140,400), and Volvo (100,000).
- The trucking industry was responsible for 12.8% of all fuel purchased in 2012.
- The average new truck costs $80-$180,000 for the cab and $30,000-$80,000 for the trailer.
Trucks and Cars: A Stark Contrast
Their comparative weight aside, there are considerable differences between the average truck and the average car. Truck engines are roughly six times larger than those of cars, trucks need 40% more time to come to a stop, and trucks hold 15 gallons of oil, compared with a car’s capacity of 1.25 gallons.
Considering how many trucks are on the road every day, it’s a wonder that there are only 500,000 truck accidents in the average year. Though commercial trucks are involved in 2.4% of highway car accidents, only 16% of those are the truck driver’s fault.
The top five trucking companies in the U.S. brought in huge revenues in 2011. FedEx Freight made $4.7 billion, while competing companies Con-Way Freight, YRC Freight, UPS Freight, and Old Dominion all pulled more a load north of $1 billion.