How Much Does a Long Haul Trucker Make?

by Gregory Hamel ; Updated July 27, 2017

The Internet allows individuals and business to communicate electronically, reducing the need for paper correspondence, but physical goods must still be shipped from one place to another. Long haul drivers are truckers that drive large vehicles long distances between cities, which often involves going through multiple states. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the vast majority of heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers are long haul drivers.

Average Income

Heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers drive trucks that are at least 26,000 gross vehicle weight to deliver goods and materials. Drivers in this category must have a commercial driver’s license. According to BLS data, the average annual income of heavy truck drivers was $39,260 in May 2009, which translates to an average hourly wage of $18.87. The median income in the occupation was $37,730.

Income Range

Trucker income varies depending on factors such as years of experience, the types of materials being transported, the routes driven and driving schedules. The BLS states that the top 10 percent of income earners among heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers made 56,970 or more in May 2009 while the bottom 10 percent earned $24,640 or less. Half of all workers in the occupation earned between $30,020 and $47,080.

Top Industries

A trucker's pay can depend on the industry in which he is employed. The BLS says that the top three industries for trucker employment in May 2009 were general freight trucking, specialized freight trucking and grocery and related product wholesalers. Average incomes in these industries were $41,010, $38,870 and $42,580 respectively. Heavy truckers that worked for the Postal Service earned more than workers in any other industry, with an average annual income of $53,020.

Regional Income

Pay varies depending on the part of the country where a trucker operates. BLS data show that Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa and Wyoming had high concentrations of heavy truckers and tractor-trailer drivers in May 2009. Average annual incomes of workers in these states were $43,450, $35,450, $37,460 and $39,240 respectively. The highest paying state for workers in the occupation was Alaska where workers earned $49,480 a year on average.

About the Author

Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.