Commercial Tire Dealers Keep America Rolling

Aug. 1, 2023

Where would we be without truck tires, the vehicles that use them and the people who sell them?

Check out these eye-popping numbers from the American Trucking Associations (ATA), a trade group that represents for-hire motor carriers, private trucking fleets and other companies:

  • Commercial trucks move 72.2% of all freight in the U.S., traveling 300 billion-plus miles annually;
  • Trucking generated $875.5 billion in gross freight revenue in the U.S., at last glance;
  • Commercial trucks make up 14.1% of all registered vehicles;
  • Nearly $48.5 billion in federal and state highway-user taxes are paid though the operation of commercial trucks;
  • Trucks transported 66.1% of the value of all surface trade between the U.S. and Canada during 2021 and nearly 83% of the value of surface trade between the U.S. and Mexico;
  • Nearly eight million people are employed in jobs that relate to trucking activity, including 3.49 million drivers.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are around 1.1 million for-hire carriers and more than 718,00 private carriers. (Trucking companies that self-identify as both total around 37,500.)

These numbers underscore just how important truck tires — and the people who sell them — are. (By the way, 2022 was a red-hot year for medium truck tire sales. Replacement truck tire shipments in the U.S. grew by more than 20% versus prior-year levels. Original equipment truck tire shipments increased by around 9%.

I also would be remiss if I forgot to mention the highly skilled, dedicated professionals who install commercial truck tires — never an easy task.

These individuals understand better than most that there’s much more to installing a medium truck tire than just tightening a few lug nuts. As many of you know, under federal law, the maximum allowed weight for a tractor-trailer is 80,000 pounds. Truck tire technicians are entrusted with an awesome amount of responsibility. And they make it look easy!

Let’s also hear it for those commercial tire technicians who walk trucking lots and terminals every day, carefully examining tires for irregular wear patterns, cuts, chips and other conditions that warrant removal from service.

Despite increasingly sophisticated tools and methods that make capturing this data easier, yard checks remain perhaps the most unheralded job in the world of truck tire service.

And it goes without saying that we should all tip our hats to roadside service technicians, who help hobbled trucks return to service, regardless of bad weather, time of day or night or other conditions.

The famous postal carriers’ motto, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” just as easily applies to these brave, hardworking “knights of the road.”

Commercial tire dealers — and everyone who works at commercial tire dealerships — should take a bow. You deserve it!

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at [email protected]

About the Author

Mike Manges | Editor

Mike Manges is Modern Tire Dealer’s editor. A 25-year tire industry veteran, he is a three-time International Automotive Media Association award winner and holds a Gold Award from the Association of Automotive Publication Editors. Mike has traveled the world in pursuit of stories that will help independent tire dealers move their businesses forward. Before rejoining MTD in September 2019, he held corporate communications positions at two Fortune 500 companies and served as MTD’s senior editor from 2000 to 2010.