How Big is the Trucking Industry? Statistics About Truck Driving


A collection of guest blog posts from truck drivers and trainers about their experience in the industry. Read more from

How big is the trucking industry?

Image credit: MoDOT Photos, Flickr

The trucking industry is a huge sector of the American economy, but often doesn’t get the recognition or respect it deserves. The phrase, “If you bought it, a truck brought it” could not be more true, but many people don’t stop to think about where we’d be if trucks weren’t on the road!

So…trucks are a big deal. But how big is the trucking industry, exactly? Today, I’m going to briefly discuss some of the amazing facts on how crucial the industry really is. Keep reading to learn about total industry revenue, employment, and annual freight tonnage!

Trucking Industry Revenue

In 2011, the trucking industry raked in an astounding amount of revenue — $603.9 billion in freight. That’s more than 80 percent of all freight revenue (including air, rail, water, etc). The trucking industry is quite literally what keeps our economy running smoothly.

To give you an idea of how much of our nation’s product is actually shipped through truck…

  • $118,832,000 (82.7%) of agricultural products
  • Over 92% of prepared foods including dairy products and fruit, vegetables, and nut products
  • $501,445,000 (65%) of pharmaceutical products
  • $168,913,000 (91.9%) of lumber and wood products

Employment in the Trucking Industry

Nine million people are employed in the trucking industry — that’s one out of 13 people (who have jobs). Of those 9 million, about 3.5 million are professional truck drivers. Nine million people in the industry, 3.5 million drivers, and there’s still a shortage of truckers. Estimates show that the current shortage of 20,000 drivers could increase to 111,000 by 2014 if market conditions don’t improve. One thing is for sure — there’s never been a better time to become a professional truck driver!

Trucks on the Road

There are 2 million registered tractor trailers in the United States alone. On average, those trucks consume about 37.2 billion gallons of diesel a year. Those trucks on the road deliver 70 percent of all freight in the country. The American Trucking Association estimates that in about a decade, the demand for trucking services will rise by 30 percent. To accommodate for the rise in demand, the amount of heavy trucks on the road will rise by 20 percent, putting an additional 600,000 tractor trailers on the nation’s highways.

As you can see, we’d be in a pretty big bind of trucks stopped moving. In fact, here’s a great article on how our infrastructure would collapse in the absence of trucks.

There’s never been a better time to pursue a truck driving job, so if you’re interested in making a career change, be sure to check out our Admissions page here.


Trucking and the Economy, American Trucking Association