Transportation Economic Trends

Cost of Transportation:

Costs Faced by Businesses Purchasing Transportation Services

This page discusses the costs faced by businesses purchasing transportation services. Businesses purchase transportation services to acquire raw materials, move the goods they produce, and transport personnel. The cost of transportation services is an indicator of the price that businesses face when purchasing transportation services. Costs Faced by Producers discuss the costs faced by businesses that produce transportation services to move people and goods.

2021 Year-in-Review
  • In 2021, the amount received for producing rail, truck, and water transportation services reached their all-time high level, suggesting an increase in the cost businesses face for these transportation services.
  • Truck transportation service saw the largest price increase of 12.8 percent, followed by water (7.5 percent) and rail transportation (4.9 percent) in 2021. Air transportation saw the smallest increase of 0.9 percent after experiencing the largest decrease of 10.9 percent in 2020.
  • The largest year-over-year price increase for truck transportation occurred in 2021, and the rest of the modes in 2008.

Costs Faced by Businesses Purchasing Transportation Services
The Producer Price Index (PPI) for producing transportation services measure the average change over time in the amount received by producers for selling their transportation services—an indicator of the cost for transportation services, e.g., airfare, that businesses face. 
The PPIs do not reflect the full cost to purchase transportation services, because they do not include sales and excises taxes that businesses and households pay for the services.

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Recommended citation
U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Economic Trends (Washington, DC: 2022).

Bureau of Transportation Statistics
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the preeminent source of statistics on commercial aviation, multimodal freight activity, and transportation economics, and provides context to decision makers and the public for understanding statistics on transportation.