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

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Updated Dec 16, 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. 

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.

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