America has always been about being the biggest and the best; being on top of the hill was, and is, almost always revered. Right or wrong, being number one — if only in size — has always been important to us. The tallest building, the fastest car, or the biggest pizza pie are all deemed significant. The trucking industry has not been one to toot its own horn (pun intended), but it’s become one of the largest and most critical industries in the U.S.A. It touches everyone’s daily life and, in my humble opinion, we should know just how big it is.

The scope of the trucking industry in the U.S. is hard to fathom. In a previous post, Life in America Without Trucking, we shared a few statistics. For example, trucking moves nearly 70% of all freight tonnage in this country, but when you look closer at the overall impact of trucking in the U.S. — the numbers are staggering.

A Few U.S. Trucking Industry Statistics:

  • 255.5 billion in annual revenue
  • 280,000 trailers are sold per year
  • 53.9 billion gallons of fuel are consumed yearly
  • 671 billion in merchandise is shipped yearly
  • 21.4 billion dollars in road usage and taxes are paid every year
  • 432.9 billion miles are driven on U.S. highways, 139.3 by class 8 (tractor-trailers)
  • 15.5 million trucks and 2 million tractor-trailers are on the road
  • 8.9 million trucking employees, including, 3.5 million truck drivers
  • 500,000 trucking companies operate in the U.S.

*Statistics complied by truckinfo.net.

What Do These Numbers Mean?

  • Trucking is larger in annual revenue than any U.S. manufacturing industry (keep in mind, trucking is 255.5 BILLION dollars).
  • Food: $284,390,000
  • Pharmaceuticals: $257,975,000
  • Motor Vehicles: $150,721,000
  • Beverages: $133,619,000

As mentioned above, the trucking industry employs 8.9 million people, of which, 3.5 million are drivers. The U.S. Federal Government employs slightly over 3 million (pdf).

The annual miles driven by the trucking industry in this country are enough to go to the moon – over 100 times!

The 53.9 billion gallons of fuel used yearly by the trucking industry represents 12.8% of the total fuel consumed in the U.S.

How big is the trucking industry? If the trucking industry was a nation, and the 255.5 billion in annual revenue was their GDP (Gross Domestic Product), it would rank 37th — that’s huge.

When I began research for this post, I had some idea how large the industry and how much it affects us, but I was surprised at the magnitude. Is the size of an industry really important? Yes, an industry this large — especially one so closely tied to all industries — touches everyone. The next time you pass a tractor-trailer on the highway, remember they are delivering the goods for all of America.