top of page

How Have Owner-Operators Performed so Far in 2022?

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

Twice a year, ATBS provides an analysis of the financial trends for owner-operators in the trucking industry. With 2022 bringing diminished spot market freight, falling freight rates in several markets, high equipment costs, extremely high fuel prices, and a looming recession, how did owner-operators manage?

In this article, we'll give a recap of the year so far and answer some questions including:

  • Why are miles and utilization continuing on a downward trend even in tough market conditions?

  • How did drastically higher fuel costs impact independent contractors' bottom line?

  • How did the diminishing spot market change the dynamic of the IC population?

  • How did inflationary costs for trucks, fuel, maintenance, and insurance impact owner-operators?

  • What are the best ICs doing to change with the times?

If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out.


The most surprising thing we saw during the first half of 2022 was the major downturn in miles. The average ATBS client is running just over 90,000 miles per year. This means miles are down 10.7% year over year or almost 11,000 miles overall.

There are many reasons for this major drop in miles and every IC probably has their own take. First, the fact that miles are down by such a large margin tells us that things aren’t so bad yet for owner-operators. This is because we often see that owner-operators tend to run less and take time off when times are good to improve their quality of life.

Miles may also be down because the huge labor shortage at shippers and receivers has caused drivers to wait around a lot longer than normal for loading and unloading. This leads to inefficient use of the hours of service available. Some drivers may have also parked their trucks altogether while the price of fuel was high in Q2 to bring down the averages.

Overall, miles have dropped significantly over the past 20 years. In 2003, owner-operators averaged about 140,000 miles per year, and today, they are down to a little over 90,000 miles per year. As things get tougher in the market, miles may start to shift back up.


Revenue per mile is up to $1.90. This is an increase of 22.5% year over year or $0.35 per mile. The biggest increase we saw was in the dry van segment at $0.37 per mile. The vast majority of this incremental revenue gain was due to the increase in fuel surcharge.