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Interesting Facts About Trucks and the Trucking Industry

The North American trucking industry plays an essential role in the health of the economy. The nation’s trucking network serves as the supply chain lifeblood by hauling large quantities of finished and unfinished goods across the country.

Trucking has been affecting the political and economic makeup of this country since the First World War.  Even during this age of rapid technological development, trucking remains an indispensable part of the manufacturing and wholesale industries.

Since the 1960’s, trucking has been the subject of a multitude of hit movies, country songs, and other pop culture references. This popularity has been driven by the impressive presence of the industry and its imposing 18 wheeler fleets. Let’s dive deeper into some fun facts about trucking and trucks.

Interesting Trucking Facts

As we’ve previously reported, the trucking industry has been around for the better part of 80 years. Over that time it’s evolved into the behemoth it is today. With the economy on the mend and the trucking employment squeeze not looking like it’s going to let up anytime soon, 2015 looks to be another banner year for the industry.

Let’s take a look at some of the interesting facts that make trucking the commercial vascular system of a nation:

  1. Intermodal transfer – or the shipment of goods using more than one method of transportation (plane, train, ocean vessel, etc.) – rose 5.9% in 2014 over the same period the year prior.
  2. Nearly 67% of all domestically moved freight in the United States is transported by truck.
  3. In 2010, trucks moved nearly 12.5 billion tons of freight, with a value of $10.5 billion.
  4. By 2040, trucks will be expected to move 18.5 billion tons of freight, with a value of $21.7 billion.
  5. Class 8 truck orders were 11% higher in 2014 than the year prior. Class 8 trucks are those that weigh more than 33,001 pounds.

Almost every current statistic points to a major renaissance in trucking. Though the employment squeeze is putting some temporary pressure on the industry, all signs point to an upward trajectory for trucking. Perhaps as potential truck drivers see the beauty and majesty of an 18 wheeler, the employment squeeze will ease.

Interesting Truck Facts

The very word trucking is predicated on the existence of large trucks. These massive kings of the road are both imposing and impressive. With such a variety of commercial trucks out there, almost anything can be hauled, whether hot, cold, hazardous, or benign.

Perhaps a good place to start is asking why we call 18 wheeler trucks “semis.” Word on the street says that it’s because of the trailer. Since a trailer doesn’t have front wheels, it can only go places when attached to the tractor, hence the moniker “semi-trailer.”

Check out these interesting facts about commercial trucks:

  1. Minus the cab, semi-trailers are generally about 53 feet long. With the cab they can get up to 70 to 80 feet.
  2. Generally the maximum load a truck can haul is upwards of 80,000 pounds, unless you live in Australia. Down under they allow “road trains” which is a tractor with four trailers attached. This set up can hike the weight to upwards of 300,000 pounds!
  3. A truck engine is six times larger than a standard car engine. Truck engines also typically have 300 to 400 more horsepower than their smaller road counterparts. Feet/pound of torque jumps by anywhere from 900 to 1,800 pounds, depending on the truck.
  4. A semi-truck engine can be expected to provide 800,000 more miles than that of a car engine. One reason for this could be that commercial truck engines are designed to keep running on a near constant basis, which keeps everything flowing and lubricated.
  5. Think five quarts of oil for your car is a lot? Try upwards of 15 gallons for a semi-truck! This may seem like way too much, but it needs to be, as truck engines endure a lot of wear and tear.

These impressive vehicles have a lot to offer, not just for prospective truck drivers, but to the health of the economy as a whole. These facts of trucks and the industry they serve are just but a few.

Trucking is far more interesting than it may seem. By learning more and advocating for trucking and trucks, we keeping the trucking rubber on the road and the smooth flow of interstate commerce remains uninterrupted.

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