Trucking Industry Trends, Statistics & Outlook for 2024

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The trucking industry is going through a transformation, adapting to new technology, sustainability measures, and changing consumer demands. The transformation also includes improvement in areas of fleet management, vehicle and fuel efficiency, and driver safety.

After catching up through the bottleneck of customer demands post-pandemic, we saw a steep freight market decline in May 2023. To remain competitive and thrive in this evolving landscape, trucking companies need to adapt, embrace innovation, and prioritize sustainability and safety. In this article, we’ll walk you through recent trends and statistics of the U.S. trucking industry, as well as the predicted trends for 2024.

Driver Perspective

“I’m hoping that the industry grows for the better over the next 10-15 years. I’m also hoping to continue to see more women get into the industry!”

Dominique Maddox, 8 years of experience

Trucking Industry Statistics

  1. Trucking represented 80.7% of the U.S.’s freight cost in 2022, totaling a gross freight revenue of $940.8 billion. (Source)
  2. Trucks moved 61.9% of ground freight between the U.S. and Canada and 83.5% of trade with Mexico, for a total value of goods at $948 billion in North America in 2022. (Source)
  3. In 2022, trucking employment was up 405,000 from the previous year, with 8.4 million people employed in trucking-related jobs. (Source)
  4. There are 3.54 million professional truck drivers as of 2022. (Source).
  5. Most trucking carriers are small companies: 95.8% of fleets operate ten or fewer trucks, and 99.7% of fleets operate 100 or fewer as of 2022. (Source)
  6. There were about 168.6 million public, private, and commercial trucks registered in the United States in 2021, according to 2023 data. (Source)
  7. As of July 2023, the federal tax on diesel fuel was about $0.24 cents per gallon. (Source)
  8. The General Freight Trucking (Truckload) industry hit a market size revenue of $91.4 billion in 2022, up 9.8% from 2021. (Source)
  9. The Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) industry hit $229 billion in 2022, growing an average 4.8% year over year between the years 2017 and 2022. (Source)
  10.  Driver wages accounted for 32% of all trucking-related costs in 2022, with driver benefits accounting for another 8%. (Source)
  11. Fuel costs were the second-highest trucking-related expense in 2022, representing 28% of all costs. (Source)
  12. Finances are a big concern for truckers, with the economy listed as the top concern and fuel prices listed as the third-most pressing concern, according to the 2023 Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry Survey. (Source)
  13.  Lack of available truck parking is the second-highest ranked concern for truckers in 2023, rising one spot from 2022. (Source)
  14.  Total freight tonnage is expected to increase 28% from 2021 to 2032, growing from an estimated 15.1 billion tons to 19.3 billion tons. (Source)
  15. Insurance premiums for trucking companies have seen a huge spike in the last few years, jumping from an average $0.071 marginal cost per mile in 2019 to $0.088 in 2022. (Source)
  16. There were 475,371 for-hire truck carriers as of July 2023. (Source)
animated infographic about trucking related costs

Industry Reliance on Trucking

Nearly every major industry relies heavily on the trucking industry to maintain its supply chain. This reliance on trucking by the major industries is echoed in smaller industries, too. Everything from raw materials from forests, mines, and farms must be transported by truck in a process that repeats itself all the way to the end-user or consumer.

industries with highest trucking reliance
  1. Agricultural Products - 82.7%
  2. Dairy, Fruit, Vegetables, and Nuts – 92%
  3. Pharmaceutical Products – 65%
  4. Lumber and Wood Products – 91.9%

Source: American Trucking Association

Owner-Operator Statistics

Owner-operators - self-employed truck drivers - are a significant contributor to the trucking industry’s overall capacity. These drivers/business owners tend to be older men and military veterans. Due to their close involvement with the day-to-day operation of their companies, owner-operators are statistically safer drivers than company drivers and can earn salaries that are up to 10 times greater than that of cmpany drivers working for private fleets (depending on the company).

owner operators stats animated infographic
  1. As of 2022, there were 3.5 million truckers in the U.S., 1.7 million of which were owner-operators. (Source: American Trucking Association)
  2. 351K owner-operators are classified as long-distance truckers. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
  3. Almost one in four Class 8 trucks in the U.S. are manufactured by Freightliner. (Source)
  4. Class 8 truck sales grew 15.5 percent in 2021 after the industry was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Source)
  5. 32% percent owner-operators say they’ve served in the military, according to a 2022 survey. (Source)
  6. Owner-operators’ average net income is $63,114 as of July 2023, down 9 percent compared to 2022. But there are ways to make your trucking business more profitable. (Source)
  7. 45% of owner-operators are leased to a motor carrier, compared to 44% who drive under their own authority. (Source)
  8. The average age of an owner-operator is 59 years old as of 2022. (Source)
  9. 6% of owner-operators are women in trucking, according to a 2021 report. (Source)
  10. As of 2021, around 21% of owner-operators are minorities. (Source)
  11. Most owner-operators became owner-operators at approximately 38 years old. (Source)
  12.  The average owner-operator plans to retire from trucking at 69 years old. (Source)
  13.  Roughly 58% of owner-operators are away from home 151+ nights a year, while 20% are away from home less than 50 nights a year (Source
  14. The average owner-operator has a 2010 model-year truck, according to a 2022 report. (Source)
  15.  63% of owner-operators have paid off their truck (Source)
  16.  In 2021, most owner-operators owned a Peterbilt truck, followed secondly by Kenworth. (Source)
  17. The typical owner-operator drives approximately 2.8 million miles throughout their career, most of which is without a Department of Transportation reportable accident, per a 2022 report. (Source)
  18. Owner-operators drove 103,000 miles in 2021, 17,600 (or 17%) of which were deadhead miles. (Source)
  19. Owner-operators are involved in 78.5 crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which is more than two times below the national crash rate for the overall trucking industry, according to a 2022 report. (Source)
  20. The average owner-operator has been driving trucks for more than 30 years, 20 of which were as an owner-operator, per a 2022 report. (Source)

Employment Trends In the Trucking Industry

how many miles do truckers drive- infographic
  1. In 2022, there were 3.54 million truck drivers employed in the U.S. (Source)
  2. 8.4 million people were employed in trucking-related jobs in the U.S in 2022 (excluding the self-employed). (Source)
  3. The trucking industry has seen a notable uptick in the representation of women drivers, reaching a record-breaking 8.1% in 2022. (Source)
  4. In 2022, 45.6% of truck drivers were minorities, with 23.3% identifying as Hispanic or Latino, 18.3% identifying as Black and 4% as Asian. (Source)
  5. The average age of a truck driver is 47 years old as of 2022. (Source)
  6. In 2022, the mean annual wage for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was $53,090. (Source
  7. In 2022, the average annual salary for light or delivery service truck drivers was $45,020. (Source
  8. In August 2023, the average hourly earnings for employees in the industry was $29.26. (Source)
  9. The average trucking industry employee worked 40.4 hours per week in August 2023. (Source)

Driver Perspective

“Overall positive. It will surely change in those 10-15 years but definitely isn’t anything that will ever go away. Trucks will always be needed in one form or another.”

Michael Kasanda, 4 years of experience

Trucking Industry 2024 Forecast

The trucking industry is currently experiencing a substantial evolution, driven by advancements in logistics, sustainability, and the enhancement of driver and vehicle safety. In the following trend map by StartUs, we can see the main trends for our industry in 2024.

graph showing the impact of the top 10 trucking industry trends

Looking forward to trends for 2024, the U.S. trucking industry will probably still have to contend with issues like high gas prices, high insurance costs, dynamic driver and equipment availability, and shifting labor laws. But we predict an increased emphasis on technology, sustainability and adapting to changing consumer demands, as well as an increase of independent truck drivers.

Technology Integration

More companies and drivers will be relying on fleet management software and other technology integration in 2024. And with that, the industry will need to strengthen its data security and cybersecurity tactics. As data becomes more essential to operations and connectivity increases, protecting sensitive information and ensuring the safety of connected vehicles will be increasingly important. Expect to see a larger investment in cybersecurity measures and greater awareness of the potential risks associated with the digitalization of the industry.

Sustainability and Green Trucking Initiatives 

The trucking industry has been under increasing pressure to reduce its environmental footprint, so sustainability and green initiatives will continue to become more mainstream. Major manufacturers are investing in the development of electric trucks and emissions regulations are becoming stricter, forcing the industry to adopt cleaner fuels. Companies that prioritize sustainability will not only meet standards, but will also cater to more eco-conscious consumers and shippers.


Before 2023, the trucking sector was expected to see consistent and steady growth, with an estimated growth rate of 6% from 2020 to 2030. After a turbulent 2023, predictions for 2024 are tempered and measured.


The trucking industry is on the verge of significant change in 2024. Technology, sustainability, and shifting consumer demands are driving the evolution in trucking. To remain competitive and thrive in this evolving landscape, companies will need to adapt, embrace innovation, improve working conditions, and prioritize sustainability and safety.

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