What is the average cost to run a truck per mile? I know truck payments and insurance make that answer different for everyone but what is an acceptable rate per mile not including a fsc? and how many miles would you need per week to make it. What if you are a local driver? What is your daily cost?

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There is a lot to factor in. Fuel costs are just the beginning. Tires runs about $250-500 per tire depending on if it's a drive, steer or trailer tire and if you choose virgin or recapped tires. Tires will effect your MPG as well as your driving habits which can raise or lower you fuel costs. Insurance and payments aside there is operating authority, base plates, IFTA and wither or not your company pays these or if it's all out of your pocket. You have living expenses on the road (meals, showers, etc.) that should be factored in. You also need to figure in your rate, that is how much of that settlement is your pay and how much do you need to put aside for these operating expenses.

Many of the owner operators I've talked to say their operating expenses run about $1.35-$1.50/mi and look to make $.50/mi so they are looking for $1.75-$2.00/mi freight. Realistically you should expect to pay yourself between $.40-$.45/mi and bank the balance to cover expenses.

When deciding on how much ya should be paid for what you do is to sit down and add up all YOUR cost of living and that includes your family life support and upkeep, Home payments and then add up all your vechicle payments per year includingt your 5 kinds of taxes as well as so much for maintance etc and permits, state or local lisences and or multi-state and you will soon realize you will never be paid enough.. Fuel is only a portion of your problems... But then add in that about 15% of the money you earn, YOU will never see because of shippers adding false claims to get cheaper rates.. BUT then come tax time, your 1099's will show 25% more income than you received because YOU get to pay the shippers /buyers taxes as well for that is a scam most never look for...The thought that you going to be making a decent living with a truck is long gone now because of the TAX bracket it puts you in and the scam artists that are out to make a living off you... This is food for thought for I was an independant owner operator for about 30+ years and from there I learned so much and lost so much from brokers/shippers going broke under one name and changing names to avoid paying the bills thus robbing me of my earned income BUT would I do it again and YES I think if my health were to improve and I could then I would because it is a lifestyle you can't delete from your brain...


Alvin, Sounds like you run under you own authority? I am not sure adding in your lifestyle to the cost of running your truck is exactly what I was looking for, I was hoping to get an average cost per mile or per day but it is apparent there are too many variables to come up with a fixed cost. Yet shippers & brokers pay a fixed amount in the lanes they tender. How do you know if you are taking a loss when you accept the load? Everydriver should be aware of their fixed cost and know what their break even point is, if not how do you know if you are making money.

Paul, a lot is going to depend on length of haul (short haul pays better than longer) and what your operating costs is going to be to get that load from point a to point b. Basically you want to bank the cost of tires (about $1200 just for the tractor) plus the cost of an overhaul (about $15,000 - $25,000) during the first 2 years so you have this in reserve when they are needed. But these figures are based on a 5 yr old truck or newer and the condition it's in when you buy it (if you don't own one yet). You will run into other expenses eventually such as brake jobs, oil changes & lubes, lights, mudflaps, etc.

I had one employer say they make just $9.00 profit per load. Figuring this is a fairly good size company that drops off an average of 500 loads daily I would say a $4500 daily profit isn't bad. Of course that's not want you want to make since you may drop 2-3 loads per week, which adds up to $56-$108 profit per month.

If you get a load from Phoenix to L.A. that pays $800, that's $2.13/mi and would cost roughly $247 for fuel. Figure you want to pay yourself $.45/mi your paycheck for that load would be $172.50 before taxes. That pays the truck $380.50. This is based on 375 miles one way at $4.25 per gallon for fuel with a truck averaging 6.5 mpg.

Take that same trip from Omaha, NE (1,548 mi) that pays $1700 and now your making $.91/mi. $1,012.14 for fuel and $.45/mi pay ($696.60) equals $1708.74 so that load COST you $8.74 to run.

If you can't run under your own authority for at least $1.75-$2.00 a mile then you won't make it as an independent. That's minimum wage pay or less. If you plan on running for a company as o/o you need to find out what they cover, do you get fuel surcharge, do they pay your IFTA & base plates or do you. Do they offer shop and maintenance programs to help curb your maintenance costs or do you have to pay $100/hr at truckstops and dealers for service and repairs.

There are so many variables to running as an o/o that having an accurate number for the daily or even weekly cost of operating is very difficult to figure. The figures I tossed out are just examples, not actual load pay though there are some close resemblances to real life. This isn't figuring out how much you as a driver will spend on everyday items such as pens, food, laundry, snacks, and whatever else you need to survive out on the road. Even though many of these items are tax deductible you don't go into business to wait until tax time for a refund. You are there to earn a living for the family and make a little extra on the side to put away for retirement, repairs and peace of mind.

Oh, did I mention that once you buy a truck you are now considered a small business? Everything you spend, earn or need while out on the road is a business expense. You will need to incorporate or at least become an LLC to claim business status, even if you pull for someone else under their authority. This is actually a smart move to spend money and get incorporated to protect not only your personal credit but your family as well. If you don't, it just takes one accident and related law suit to ruin your life until the day your die.

You will know if you're taking a loss or gaining a profit by figuring out how much fuel you need, what that expense will be (any tolls or paid parking en-route) and the length of the haul. Factor in 25% for daily living expenses over 1,200 miles, 15% for less. The key is understanding the truck you own (the MPG, the amount of time it's in for repairs, etc.), what it costs you to live on the road and what the company is willing to offer in compensation for running for them.

Very Nice thanks!

Shave off about 8% to 12% and see what it will do for you? That usually equates to about $300 to $900 back each month for your average Owner Operator on one truck. Millions for large fleets.


The average cost of operating a truck varies per mile, but rule of thumb is $500 a day, fuel, maintenace, and driver pay included w/o health insurance for a longhaul truck.


Here you go James. I just signed up an outfit yesterday with 65 units. I did a live demonstration with them and in less than 10 minutes they new they has to try to see what it was going to do for them.


Here's what it does and how it works inside an engine:


Plus if you know any Farmers out there:


Here from a friend of mine who are Owner Operators. You want to reduce your costs? How about this? Don't listen to me.

We have two trucks that run nationwide; each truck averaging 12,000 miles per month.  We have been using the Xp3 diesel enhancer since April  2011, and the first thing the drivers noticed was increased performance and less black smoke build up on the exhaust stacks.  We keep records on a monthly mileage basis because the different loads and road conditions affect fuel mileage.  On our 2009 Kenworth with a 550 Caterpillar engine we have gained 17% in our fuel savings averaging about $1,068 per month.  In our older 2005 Peterbuilt with the same type 550 Caterpillar engine we are saving about $822 per month for a total savings to our business of $1,890 per month or $22,680 per year.  This is a very significant savings, and I need to mention that it includes the cost of using Xp3.  We would not fill up our trucks without Xp3 and have been known to order it overnight shipped to make sure we do not run out.

Skip & Jeannie

One can use kilometers or miles; it depends upon the user that how they are going for that, but it's best to keep the figures consistent with the paid bucks. The next step in the exercise is to determine what costs we should be tracking.

I have attached a file for you. try that, see if it helps. its a lease purchase calculator.


What if you just extended your oil changes out 2X farther then you are now alone? What would that save you in less oil, filters, and man hours per year?




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