Study Explores True Cost to Vehicles From Damaged Roads and Highways
By Dan Boaz
e find ourselves frequently writing about the importance of investment in transportation infrastructure and the economic impact of congestion and highway issues nationwide. A new study actually analyzes the true cost to an average driver due to damaged road surfaces. As you'll see if you were to convert those figures to a commercial vehicle the real costs are significantly greater.
It's worth noting that the study looks only at the impact of poor roads in terms of wear and tear on a vehicle, which is to say nothing about the huge added costs incurred due to delays and congestion when moving hot shot freight or other commercial goods, machinery, supplies or equipment.
The study itself was conducted by research organization TRIP who are funded by the transportation industry. The report shows that for the average car driver in the United States (who drives approximately 13,500 miles per year) the added operational and maintenance costs for a car equate to approximately $516 annually. These costs were specifically due to the punishment a vehicle suffers as a result of deteriorating road surfaces. Such road conditions lead to damaged tires, suspension systems and reduced gas mileage in general terms for all drivers.
Naturally the operating costs for a semi truck, straight truck, cargo van or any other commerical vehicle are higher than for a passenger car. When you compound the more expensive repairs and replacement parts with the added mileage these vehicles complete each year the figures become astronomical.
Many long haul freight vehicles travel in excess of 100,000 miles per year and even delivery cans and more regional short haul vehicles will clock over 45,000 miles annually.
Consider that these totals are between four and seven times higher than a car and the $516 figure per year quoted above suddenly becomes something nearer to $3,000. Add to that more expensive repair and replacement parts and the average wear and tear costs for a commercial vehicle probably approach $5,000 per year. According to the truckersreport.com repairs and maintenance costs for a commercial truck will average $12,000-$15,000 per year plus tires. These figures help to illustrate just how much of those costs are due to the current condition of our roads and reiterate the importance of appropriate maintenance and funding.
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