Enduring the bureaucratic and regulation-ridden work environment, US truckers work tooth-and-nail to keep supply chains moving and on schedule. Because of regulatory interference, US trucking outfits are among the few remaining industries that are still largely run and/or owned by mom-and-pop operations. According to theAmerican Trucking Association, nearly 70 percent of all goods moved in the US are transported on trucks. That comes to almost $670 billion in real, physical goods, from durable and manufactured goods, to finished parts for assembly, to consumer goods.
There are about 3.5 million truck drivers in the US, and of those, 1 in 9 are owner-operators. Trucking represents 84 percent of all commercial transport revenue, and 68 percent of all freight tonnage in America. Rail, on the other hand, makes up less than 6 percent of freight tonnage transport.
In 2009, $33.1 billion was paid by commercial trucks for federal and state highway taxes. It makes up roughly 5 percent of GDP, and 1 out of 13 private sector employees are involved in the trucking industry, not just drivers but office staff, warehouse, and engine and truck manufacturers. Go one step more and include accountants, attorneys, insurance companies, and other related services.
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Friday, September 12, 2014.