Class 8 Truck Drivers Talk on Youtube About Costs and Expenses

Nextbigfuture has written about the Tesla Electric Semi. The Tesla Electric Semi can have electricity costs of 17 cents per mile. There have been trucker commenters saying that the maintenance costs are different for electric trucks and the battery replacement will wreck the economics of the 500 mile range truck. 60-80% of the loads seem are below the 500-mile range one way.

The first battery change (assuming it is done in 7 years $80,000 cost and in 700,000 miles would be $0.11 per mile and another one in 12 years would be $50,000 in cost after 700,000 miles would be $0.07 per mile). The Tesla Semi are $0.50 cheaper than the new Freightliners and $0.70 on older or less fuel efficient trucks. Trucks will have $0.18 per mile maintenance and repair costs. IF the Tesla has maintenance and repair costs that are the same and added on the 0.11 per mile would be $0.29 per mile in maintenance and battery. The Tesla Semi still comes out ahead on energy and maintenance even with added battery replacements. The Tesla Semi has no clutch and fuel system and Hertz is experiencing half of the maintenance costs for operating Tesla EV vs regular gas passenger cars. There is the possibility that the non-battery maintenance is $0.09 per mile for Tesla Semi and the all in with battery is $0.20 per mile.

The truckers are earning about $2.30-$3.30 per mile. The amounts made vary widely based on region, type of trailer and other dynamic business factors.

The new Freightliner Cascadia’s can get 8 to 9 mpg versus 2015-2016 versions in the 7-7.5 mpg range. The older flatnose trucks get 6-7 mpg.

Newer Volvos get about 7.4 mpg.

The new Freightliner trucks are 15 to 16 cents per mile cheaper than the older trucks. The Tesla Semi are $0.50 cheaper than the new Freightliners and $0.70 on older or less fuel efficient trucks.

In late 2022 and in 2023, trucks are getting fuel costs of $0.60 to 1.05 per mile. Most trucks are in the $0.70 to 0.90 per mile fuel costs ranges.

IF other average truck costs from 2021 were still valid :
Truck payment – $0.15/mile
Trailer payment – $0.07/mile
Insurance – $0.14/mile (less for more established truck companies, more for newer truck companies or drivers)
Maintenance and Repairs – $0.18/mile
Tires – $0.03/mile
Tolls – $0.04/mile
Permits/Licensing and software – $0.06/mile
Driver – $0.42 per mile

This is $0.67/mile in non-fuel and non-driver costs.

Another trucking companies describes driving 2480 miles in a week to get $6000 in gross profit. The costs in fuel, insurance etc… left $1837 in net profit for the week. There needs to be a cushion and setting aside money for future maintenance and repairs.

Old vs new trucks

There are older videos before the higher diesel prices was 0.46 to 0.50 per mile back in 2020 and 2021.

13 thoughts on “Class 8 Truck Drivers Talk on Youtube About Costs and Expenses”

  1. Well from an article about replying to a truckers reply state electric rates at $0.1kw yet USA average price is currently $0.16/kw, 60% higher then used , that does not take into account you need aprx 4 coal power plant to charge every 250 trucks if I remember correct(fact check that)The chief executive of Aurora Energy Research, John Feddersen, says the power required for the megacharger to fill a truck battery in just 30 minutes would be 1,600 kilowatts, according to the Financial Times so if power company’s already run brown outs due to shortage the cost of building the amount of power plants required to charge just trucks alone would drastically increase electric rates to cover the cost of building them.
    Let’s talk about maintainance , I know someone who got a flat tire on a cogen car, it damaged the electric wire that detects braking to change to charge mode while braking that single wire cost $9000.00 to change , so the repair cost are significantly higher .and as all truckers know the weight of a truck bouncing down the road affects the life of the batteries ,I suspect a semi EV battery life is far less then rated as the “bounce” that happens shaking batteries is significantly higher then that if a EV car or truck requiring far more maintenance of roads then we currently do.
    Batteries .
    Now let get into the single biggest factor left out, WEIGHT , my fld120 has a tare weight of about 18000lbs , that weights affects payload capacity, the weight of an electric truck is upto 27000lbs that’s 9000lbs of less payload there by requiring more loads to be made increasing the cost/pound of transport cost increasing the overall cost of all goods including electricity,
    You claim ev braking on hill will increase safety as the brakes won’t fail , alot of the accidents due to brake failure are due to overspeed coming into the hill and Tring to slow down all that weights ,so the question remains that while right now in testing they are driving at ideal conditions and methods what is the impact of higher speeds on EV braking, what is the maximum brake capacity of EV semi? Is a runaway possible ?
    Only time will tell us the cost of using semi EV is lower then conventional ice engines.
    There are so many idealistic numbers used in semi EV calculations that fail to address the logistics of using them and the added cost that will be incurred from the almost unfathomable amount of energy required to run the estimated 13 million trucks in the USA alone… 1600kwh/charge/truck/200-500mi that’s under ideal rates 20800000000kwh/day required in addition to house hold use……on best case scenario. And just USA alone……no the infrastructure is a long long way off to support them and any attempt to force the switch over fast will drastically increase ALL costs from purchase to operation ,

  2. Brian in several other articles you boosted that Tesla Semis will cause companies to but Megapacks from Tesla. Your numbers where 1 Megapack per every 3 to 6 Tesla Semis.
    That means you need to add to the Tesla Semi initial cost $330K ~ $660K, and redo it at least once per every 10 years (although cost of Megapack probably will down significantly by 2033).
    So adding it to your over optimistic calculation (as usual when it comes to anything related to Musk) you get:
    $1000K for Tesla Semi vs $800K for ICE Semi

  3. If Tesla Semi has an 850kWhr battery and it falls to 80% before being replaced, the batteries could be used to make about 68 10kWhr Powerwalls.
    So some factor should be added to account for selling the old battery pack.

  4. Another dynamic you should include is the effect of road tax in current fuel cost compared to electric power metered cost with no road tax. Eventually, when electric power becomes a more significant portion of vehicle motive force, the burden will need to shift to taxing electric power for road use. Either fed & state governments will figure out a way to meter road power & tax it separately, or they will bury the road tax in the electric bill mixed in with other household, commercial, & industrial electric use.

    I don’t believe the road tax factor is great enough to tip the scale against electric vehicle economics, but it should be accounted for.

    • Replacing gas tax with per-mile tax on electric vehicles might be a less contentious way to approach this problem. Collecting the mileage at the regular safety inspections that some states require would be quite simple. Collecting the mileage at regular intervals (perhaps when you pay the annual license fee) would require a bit more effort, but I imagine people will think of good ways to piggy-back the mileage reporting onto some other routine activity.

    • Well you talk about all the savings for an electric truck if all the truckers decides to go Electric answer this telsa is so far behind rolling out his trucks Nickola haven’t even put one truck on the road haven’t seen one charging station yet for big rig you haven’t even answered the basic question at the rate things are going if there’s 5-10 percent electric class 8 trucks probably be at least 10yrs or more be more realistic about getting big rigs electric

  5. But will not the income also scale with the inflation? And all maintenance, fuel costs for both the diesel and electric truck, and this cancel out?

    • No, sadly, income doesn’t usually scale with inflation. Not in the private sector. Remember, the whole point of inflation is to transfer wealth from the private sector to government; The government inflates the currency, and spends the money, and everybody’s dollar denominated assets go down in value by the amount the government gained in the process.

      It’s not some mysterious accident, it’s the visible manifestation of the government syphoning wealth out of society by monetary policy.

      But more specifically, inflation is absolute hell on saving for things, because the money you’re saving for a future expense is evaporating away.

      If you could gradually replace the battery, sure, things wouldn’t be too bad. But if you have to save for them, the early savings just inflate away. And things are no better if you wait and finance them, because inflation drives up interest rates.

      For this reason, inflation favors systems where the expenses happen all along, rather than in lumps that have to be saved for or financed. It tilts the playing field away from electric vehicles, which spend a lot of their operating cost reduction in the form of major capital expenses, in favor of ICE vehicles, where the costs are more ongoing.

      • Good point about inflation (and other high interest rate situations) tilting the playing field away from EVs to ICVs.

        I heard the same point made about electrical power. Low pollution power sources like wind, solar, hydro and nuclear are all big capital up front, then zero to minor fuel costs over time. And this suits a low interest environment, not the world we look like we are heading into.

  6. “The first battery change (assuming it is done in 7 years $80,000 cost and in 700,000 miles would be $0.11 per mile and another one in 12 years would be $50,000 in cost after 700,000 miles would be $0.07 per mile)”

    Possibly you want to recalculate including carrying costs at a reasonable rate of interest? These apply even if you’re just banking the money as you drive, because at present, almost all forms of savings vehicles have severely negative interest rates.

    At last year’s inflation rate, if you needed to have $80K in current dollars 7 years from now, you’d have to bank about $150K today. Your 11 cents per mile increases quite a bit if you take inflation into account.


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