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3.7 million Class 8 vehicles on U.S. roads in 2021 – Truck News

The U.S. has seen a massive uptick in the number of Classes 1-8 trucks on its roadways, with 169.8 million counted in 2021 – up from 85.1 million in 2002. And they traveled a collective 1.9 trillion miles (3 trillion km), up 70% compared to two decades earlier.

The data emerged in the national Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey that has been revived by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics after a 20-year absence.

The 3.7 million Class 8 vehicles among them traveled 150.5 billion miles (242.3 billion km) in 2021, or an average 41,000 miles (66,000 km) per vehicle.

Oregon highway
(Photo: iStock)

Among those were 2.7 million Class 8 tractors, covering a collective 135.3 billion miles (217.8 billion km) – an average 49,700 miles (80,000 km) per vehicle. The 2 million hauling single trailers traveled a collective 114 billion miles (183.5 billion km) and an average 56,200 miles (90,480 km) per vehicle.

The Class 8 fleet with specialized bodies included 333,700 dump trucks; 86,000 concrete mixers; 76,400 liquid or gas tankers; 75,000 flatbeds; 75,000 waste vehicles; 40,300 box trucks; 35,100 service and utility vehicles; 39,700 hooklifts and roll-offs; 32,800 vacuum trucks; 26,400 cranes; and 12,900 tows and wreckers, among others.

Fuel economy improvements

Heavy-duty trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings above 26,000 lb. averaged 6.34 mpg (37.1 L/100 km), bettering the 6.23 mpg (37.76 L/100 km) in 2002. Those trucks averaged 36,000 miles (58,000 km) in 2021, compared to 41,000 miles (66,000 km) in 2002.

Light-duty trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings of less than 10,000 lb. averaged 19.5 mpg (12.1 L/100 km) compared to 17.4 mpg (13.5 L/100 km) in 2002. They averaged 9,800 vehicle miles traveled (15,778 km), compared to 12,200 miles (19,642 km) in 2002.

Related data will guide investments infrastructure and vehicle technologies, evaluate truck safety, estimate emissions, and understand the role of trucks in economic activity, the U.S. Department of Transportation says.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics is also planning its first Electric Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey.

“Every day, under President [Joe] Biden, we are working to modernize infrastructure nationwide—but we can only make the best possible decisions if we have reliable transportation data,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “This survey data is vital for helping us deliver a safer, cleaner, stronger transportation system for all.”   

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