Transportation Economic Trends

Cost of Transportation:

Costs Faced by Producers

The major inputs to produce transportation services include labor, equipment, fuel, and infrastructure. This page discusses equipment prices. See Employment by Industry and Employment by Occupation for labor data; Cost of Fuel for fuel data; and Value of Transportation and Other Infrastructure for infrastructure data.
2021 Year-in-Review
  • As measured by the Producer Price Index (PPI), the amount received for transportation equipment increased in 2021. The increase continues an upward rise, suggesting a continued increase in the price of transportation equipment.
  • Ships and boats, and automobiles saw the largest price increase of 2.9 percent in 2021, followed by aircraft (1.6 percent) and railroad rolling stock (0.9 percent). Neither was the largest year-over-year increase on record, which occurred in 2007 and 2005, respectively.
  • The 2021 price increase in automobile and light duty motor vehicles tied as the largest year-over-year increase at 2.9%.

Costs to Produce Transportation Services
Price for Transportation Equipment
PPI shows the average change over time in the amount received by producers of transportation equipment, for example, the amount received by aircraft manufacturers. If the amount firms receive rises, then the price faced by purchasers likely increases—making transportation equipment a larger cost in producing transportation services.
The price for aircraft, ships and boats, and railroad rolling stock has risen at a faster rate than automobiles.


Recommended citation
U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Economic Trends, available at

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.