Trucks carried 70 percent of U.S.’ $13.6 trillion in freight in 2012

| December 12, 2013

trucking fuel tankerTrucks moved 73.7 percent of the country’s freight in 2012, according to the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, carrying $10 trillion worth of the country’s $13.6 trillion in freight. 

The numbers come from the DOT’s recently released Commodity Flow Survey, which is done roughly every five years. 

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Trucks also carried 70 percent of the tonnage moved in 2012, hauling 8 billion of the 11.7 billion tons shipped last year. 

The for-hire trucking industry carried $6.6 trillion in freight — 48.5 percent of the total — the CFS says, while private trucks hauled 25.2 percent, or $3.4 trillion. 

Trucks were slightly edged by rail, though, in ton-miles last year, as rail moved 44.5 percent and trucking moved 38.1 percent. Ton-miles is a measurement of weight multiplied by distance shipped. 

More than half of the total tonnage moved in 2012 went less than 50 miles, CFS says, and shipments traveling fewer than 250 miles accounted for more than 60 percent.

The CFS is only conducted every five years, with the first coming in 1993, and the subsequent ones coming in 1997, 2002, 2007 and last year. Final data from the survey will be released in December 2014, the DOT says.

Click here to see data tables from the preliminary report.

  • the silver piston

    So where was the driver’s cut in all this?

  • 4real

    Trucking would carry more if the corporate idiots would stop putting freight on trains. Of course that would involve having drivers and most trucking companies want as few truck drivers as possible.

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  • shadow hauling

    I don’t believe the dots numbers. Trucks carried 100 percent of the freight. How do the stupid politicians think that freight got to the rail and then from the rail to its destination. I sure as he’ll don’t see any rails running to anyone’s house or to all those businesses out there. Another government number to fund more money from road tax, fuel tax and sales tax to the rail industry

  • Jerry

    Some of those numbers are elevated due to Oil Fracking. Trucking & Rail movements of bulk crude oil to refinery’s. (elevated costs to move crude by truck, lesser cost to move by rail). Pipelines, as they become operational, rail overall tonnage will decrease. I believe, these short term gains by crude oil rail tonnage should be separated to get a clearer picture.