The trucking industry impacts your life more than you might think. Almost every good in the United States had traveled by truck at least once before it reached its final destination. Even when goods travel by railroad, they still almost always go by truck for at least part of their journey. Trucking accounts for over 70 percent of freight in the United States. This means trucking generates more revenue than any other industry in the United States.
Nearly 6 percent of all full-time jobs in America are in the trucking industry, which generates over $700 billion every year. At 53.9 billion gallons of fuel per year, these truck drivers use over 12 percent of all fuel used in the United States.
Tractor-trailers drive 432.9 billion miles every single year, and there are over 15.2 million trucks on the road.
How the Trucking Industry Affects Other Industries
The trucking industry affects other people’s employment, as well. Industries such as steel mills and auto manufacturers depend on truckers to deliver supplies needed to manufacture their goods. This is because the manufacturing industry has shifted toward “just in time manufacturing.” This means parts are delivered just before assembly, so manufacturers do not need large warehouses to store components.
The manufacturing industry also depends on truckers to transport goods to sellers. Without trucks, workers at these factories would soon face unemployment.
The farming industry also depends on the trucking industry. Fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are transported many miles before they reach their final destinations at the store. Farm owners and farm workers both depend on trucking to keep their industry going.
What if Trucking Disappeared?
Trucking helps transport nearly every kind of good you can think of. Life would not be the same as you know it if the trucking industry disappeared tomorrow. Gas stations would be out of gas in less than a week because they depend on fuel deliveries every two and a half days.
Your local grocery store would be out of dairy and produce in a few days because many grocery stores keep as few perishables in stock as possible. They depend on daily deliveries of food. The supply of clean water would even disappear because water purification plants would not be getting the tools they needed to clean water.
Hospitals would run out of medications in a very short time, and some would run out of oxygen within a day. This is because they do not keep many supplies on hand ahead of time. Some even wait to order more supplies until their current ones are depleted. These hospitals depend on trucks to quickly get them the supplies they need within a few hours.
Even a disruption to the trucking industry has significant consequences. After 9/11, trucks carrying auto parts were significantly delayed at the Canadian border. This caused several Michigan auto manufacturing plants to shut down because they could not get the parts they needed in time. This caused them severe economic loss.
A Shortage of Drivers
Because the trucking industry is so vital to everyday life, nearly 900,000 more drivers are needed. This is because the industry is growing so quickly. DAT Solutions found that in 2018, there was only one truck available for every 12 loads that needed to be shipped. Part of this shortage is because many truck drivers are nearing retirement age, and there are not enough new ones to replace them.
Many people do not realize just how important the trucking industry is. America would be very different without the trucking industry and the more than 10 million people who work in it.