American trucking trends don’t only affect trucking. They affect us all. On August 14th ATA (American Trucking Associations) published the 2017 edition of ATA Trucking Trends. ATA has released American Trucking Trends for several years. The 2017 publication covers American trucking statistics for all of 2016.

American Trucking Trends

The Numbers

Trucks shipped 70% of America’s freight, which accounted for 10.42 billion tons of freight or more than 70% of the total tonnage of freight shipped in our country. That’s 70% of the food, fuel, medicine, clothing, and oil shipped every day all over America. Can you imagine what would happen if trucking went missing?

What would happen if the trucking industry suddenly disappeared from our lives?

  • Groceries, fuel, medical supplies, garbage removal, and clean water would all soon become scarce.
  • In a week or two, garbage and waste would become more than a nuisance and an eye sore. It would become a potential health hazard.
  • Grocers would perishables in two or three days.
  • Banks would run short of cash, and ATM’s would be out of money in as little as a day.
  • Hospitals and pharmacies would begin running out of medications. For example, some would be out of oxygen in two days or less.
  • The clean water supply would be disrupted, as vital cargo would not be shipped to water purification plants.
  • Most gas stations would be run out of fuel in less than a week, and some, in a day.” — What would happen if the trucking industry suddenly disappeared from our lives? — Life in America Without trucking.

The Economy

The 3.68 million class 8 trucks used 38.8 billion gallons of diesel fuel and 15.5 billion gallons of gasoline driving more than 450 million miles. According to Forbes Custom, “Trucking is the driving force behind all companies’ worldwide supply chains, moving nearly everything consumed in this country. Nearly 80% of U.S. communities receive their goods exclusively by truck. Virtually all U.S. goods touch a truck during at least one leg of the supply chain. Trucking moves nearly 70% of all freight tonnage in this country. Even goods that have traveled by railroads eventually wind up on a truck for the ‘last mile’ of the delivery.”

Trucking is a Big Small Business

The average owner operator paid $5,600 in taxes in 2016. “So how many trucking companies are there? According to trucking, “Estimates of 1.2 million companies in the U.S. Of that figure 97% operate 20 or fewer while 90% operate 6 or fewer trucks.” How many SMALL trucking companies are there? As per the numbers above, 1.16 million trucking companies in America have 20 or fewer trucks.” — Trucking: America’s Small Business.


Sometimes we need to see facts and figures to put things in perspective. We’re all so used to seeing trucks every day of our lives that most of us take the trucking industry for granted. It’s normal to see hundreds of tractor-trailers on our daily commutes. There’s nothing unusual about watching semi-trailers unloading at the docks, or see a UPS or FedEx truck deliver packages to our neighbors. But to take the trucking industry for granted is a mistake. The industry affects Every, Single, Person, in this great country. It’s time we all offered our support to this industry. Here’s a good place to start. ATA: Trucking Moves America Forward.


I wrote this before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston or Irma wreaked havoc on Florida. Both of these catastrophes gave us a glimpse of how important trucking is not only to the American economy but to average Americans day to day living. The impact trucking and truckers make bringing fuel, food, water, medicine, and more to affected areas as well as what our world looks like when trucks are unable to deliver their goods should open all of our eyes.  

American trucking trends postscript August, 2021

The COVID – 19 pandemic has shown America, and the world, how important trucking and truckers are. Not just our economy but day-to-day living. #ThankaTrucker

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