Dionisius Purba (Flickr)
Are they serious?! The Caterpillar 797 tire.
Fun Trucking Facts
The trucking industry has fun facts the world over. We are a great group of people performing an important service. Some industry facts are thought-provoking, others are funny and some are just plain cool. How many trucks does the U.S. have? How much fuel do truckers really consume? What’s the longest truck? The fastest? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and many more!
We know we’re important, but others didn’t until around the 1960s and 1970s. We finally got the recognition we deserved in American culture with a collection of movies and songs about the trucking industry – yes, yes, we’ll give you our autograph! No pushing and shoving, PLEASE!
So who helped make us famous on the big screen? How about:
- Steven Spielberg
- Burt Reynolds
- Chuck Norris
- Kris Kristofferson
- Patrick Swayze (Rest in Peace, Brother)
Respectively, the movies are Duel, Smokey and the Bandit, Breaker! Breaker!, Convoy and Black Dog. Wait, wasn’t Norris a Texas Ranger, too?! A bear and a truck driver?!
How about some kudos from the music industry? We’ve got them there, too. Some of the best truck driving songs are:
- Alabama’s Roll on 18 Wheeler
- Garth Brooks’ Papa Loved Mama
- East Bound and Down by Jerry Reed
- Convoy by C.W. McCall
- Box Car Willie’s Trucker’s Prayer
Your turn: What are your favorite trucker movies and music?
We’re Famous, but where are the Groupies?
I thought with fame came women, but a majority of truck drivers are male. Not very pretty at the truck stops. Some other driver stats include:
- Average age is 33 years old
- Most drivers are from Florida
- Drivers book about 105,000 miles a year
- The U.S. has 3.5 million truck drivers
- One in nine are independent drivers
- Average salaries for 2013 are expected to be $55,000
- The top trucking company to drive for is FedEx
Your turn: What do you think about these statistics? Anybody seeing these salaries? How about encouraging more women to get behind the wheel! Where do you stand on that? Oh, and ladies – no offense at all is intended by these facts or my representation of them!
The Industry in Which We Drive and Hopefully Thrive!
Aside from rail, the trucking industry makes up the largest portion of the United States transportation system. In fact, we account for 28.6 percent of this crucial industry. We rock! And here are some other interesting facts about trucking:
- We might rock in percentages, but we don’t rock in truck manufacturing. The largest truck manufacturer is not American; it’s Japan’s Isuzu, which manufactures over 450,000 commercial vehicles annually.
- Save your dough if you want to become one of the 1-in-9 independent drivers. A new cab and trailer will cost you anywhere from $90,000 to $260,000 combined! Only need the cab? Plan on shelling out $80,000 to $180,000 depending on how fancy you want to go. Trailers will set you back $30,000 to $80,000. Maybe this is why drivers are hanging onto their old rigs.
- So what are we 28.6 percent hauling? Clothes, food, furniture and machinery. This is good, because I don’t want to see any of you naked, we all need to eat, we all need to rest after a long haul and Lord knows we ALL love our machines!
- What’s it take to haul all of this stuff? Try 50 billion gallons of gasoline each year – both diesel and standard fuel. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t make us environmentally unfriendly fuel hogs. We only account for 12.8 percent of the nation’s fuel consumption – so shut it hybrid drivers!
- Oh, and while we’re getting all in the car drivers’ faces, trucks don’t account for that many accidents either. We account for 500,000 vehicle accidents annually, compared to cars who account for 5.25 million. Truck versus car accidents account for only 2.4 percent of all accidents, and 84 percent of these accidents are the car driver’s fault.
Your turn: What do you think about the U.S. not leading commercial vehicle manufacturing? Are you an owner-operator or a company driver? What do you haul?
Mine’s Bigger than Yours!
- Cars are wimps! The standard car engine is generally six times smaller than a truck engine and only has 100 to 200 horsepower compared to the 400 to 600 horsepower a truck generates.
- Truck engines last longer, too. A car engine will breathe its last breath at around 200,000 miles, whereas a truck engine takes a licking and keeps on ticking until 1 million miles. Maybe that’s because a truck engines likes to drink! It can hold its oil at 15 gallons; the car can only hold 1.25 gallons – lightweight!
- The Hawaiian Eagle fire truck can smoke the car, too. This sucker can reach speeds of 406 miles, which is good news if your house is burning in Hawaii.
Your turn: Anybody ever see the Hawaiian Eagle in person? What car do you drive when you aren’t in your rig? How many horses drive your cab? How many miles have you gotten out of your longest lasting engine?
Theirs is Bigger than Ours!
- Truck engines pale in comparison to the Caterpillar 797, however. This monster of a vehicle is a two-axle ultra class beauty designed for the tough trucking world of high production mining and heavy-duty construction. The Caterpillar 797 can haul 400 short tons, and – yes – it’s the biggest truck in the world.
- Oh, those Aussies! They stake claim to the longest truck. In 2006, somebody thought it was good idea to take a Mack, tack on 112 semi-trailers and pull a load 328 feet so it could brag it hauled the longest road train. Total weight was 1,300 long tons and the rig measured 4,836 feet and 11 inches long.
- That’s okay. Australians might have koala bears and cool accents, but the good ol’ USA holds the Guinness World Record for the largest tow truck parade. On Nov. 13, 2011 a total of 324 two trucks paraded through Illinois to benefit Tow Trucks for Tots. Oh! And if you took all of the commercial trucks in the U.S. and lined them up, they’d reach the moon – take that land Down Under!
Your turn: Anybody ever drive a Caterpillar 797? What’s the longest truck you’ve driven? Anyone participate in the Tow Trucks for Tots tow parade?
These are just some of the fun trucking facts I could scrape up. It’s your turn to share some industry facts you know that aren’t included here. Have some fun driving facts? How about truck facts and records? Share, and let’s all have a blast with this fun and interesting topic!