RHA logo


What you need to get started

Explanatory notes

Survey and other info

My vehicles

Log out


Explanatory Notes

The following brief notes are provided to assist members fully understand these cost tables.

The costs assembled in the accompanying pages result from a combination of the annual survey undertaken by the Road Haulage Association and research by Apprise Consulting on vehicle costs. The figures are averages based on the responses received from the survey and validation thereafter. These are averages across a number of different companies and types of operations.

Accordingly, it is misleading for you to assume that the costs and increases shown in the accompanying tables relate exactly to your fleet.

As part of our research we have compared our results with several of the published cost tables. The variations across these tables, for every cost except VED, lend weight to our contention that depending on averages is simply untenable and is no substitute for utilising your own specific costs.

It is for this reason that, alongside the average costs for the 44 tonne articulated unit as determined in the survey, there is a column in which you can insert the relevant comparable figures for the vehicles in your own fleet. This is not restricted to 44 tonne vehicles however care needs to be taken when applying these increases to other types of vehicles. The format will however work for any type of vehicle.

Time-Related and Distance-Related Costs

Although a number of companies convert their fixed and variable costs into a total cost per mile this can be wholly inaccurate when quoting for certain types of haulage jobs. Separation of these costs is encouraged by these tables which bring costs together but do not produce an all-encompassing cost per mile. Costs are an infinitely variable mixture of time-related and distance-related costs. Time-related costs are accruing even when the vehicle is not being used while the distances we may cover in any given period of time can vary enormously according to the type of work we are undertaking.

These tables are designed to arrive at a cost per average day (see below), which can be reduced to a cost per hour depending on the number of hours worked in a day, and then, quite separately, an average cost per mile actually run. This is dealt with in greater detail in the section Calculating Charges and Rates and in the Supplementary Paper.

Time Cost per Day

These tables are accordingly designed to arrive at a cost per average day, which can be reduced to a cost per hour depending on the number of hours worked in a day, and then, quite separately, an average cost per mile actually run.

Vehicle and trailer costs

These are given on a representative basis because of the enormous variations encountered. These arise from:

●   Costs from different vehicle and trailer manufacturers

●   Different Euro-specifications

●   Truck specification required for a particular operation

●   Discounts available to large fleet purchases

●   List price differences by dealership and geographic location

The advent of Euro 6 on 1st January 2014 has resulted in higher initial costs and some changes in running costs which have not featured in the tables until now where a higher truck price has been added. The reason for this is that the example 44-tonne price is regarded as a new vehicle however the expected better fuel consumption has yet to be incorporated fully.

Average Days per Annum

One of the most vital keys to profitability is the number of days per annum you effectively use your vehicles. This governs the rate at which you can recover time-related costs since these will mostly be accruing against you, whether you use the vehicle or not. You must determine, either from available records or from an informed view of your work, the number of days likely to be worked by each vehicle during the year.

In these tables, to be consistent, we have continued to assume 240 'Earning Days' throughout, but it is essential that you determine your own utilisation and hence your potential competitive edge. There is evidence to suggest that many companies are, in fact, achieving higher utilisation factors, particularly where multi-shifting is possible and where there is an increase in weekend working. If multi-shifting, ensure that you include the costs of a second and if applicable, a third driver.

Typical Miles per Annum

These average figures are used to calculate typical cost percentages per annum here. In these cost tables we have taken an average of 73,000 miles for a 44-tonne articulated unit and trailer however the survey shows an increase of 5,000 miles per annum resulting in an annual average of 78,000. This average mileage is likely to be different for your own fleet.

Average Depreciation/Residuals

This is calculated on a straight-line basis over periods appropriate to the type of vehicle. In the 44 tonne gvw category we use a 6 year depreciation period for the tractor unit and 10 years for the trailer. There is no allowance for residual values to compensate for the escalating price of replacing existing vehicles with new or even second hand equipment. Within your own calculations you may wish to include a residual value and either use straight line or declining balance methods of depreciation.

Driver Employment Costs

Employment costs must cover actual weekly wages, bonuses, holiday entitlements, relief drivers, sick leave, NHI and pension costs together with training, uniforms and PPE. In other words, the total cost of ensuring that you have a driver in the cab for every available working hour.


These are average premiums for the vehicle only. There are, in practice, wide variations in premiums paid, related to fleet size and claims record. Goods in transit insurance is included in the overheads section.

VED Licences

Rates shown are for a standard 44 tonne gross combination incorporating a tri-axle curtainsider. There can, however, be some variations based on age, engine size and carbon emissions.

2014 sees the introduction of the Lorry Road User Charge. As the cost impact of this is to be neutral, we continue to refer to VED.

Interest on Capital

This has been estimated at a notional 6.0% on mid-life value, i.e. effectively half the original cost. Companies will be able to borrow money at different rates. Companies need to ensure they enter their own figures here.

Overheads per Vehicle

This again is the average obtained from the survey. You must assess the total overheads in your own business and allocate them to vehicles. The simplest way of doing this is in proportion to vehicle gross weights. Remember also that if you run a business with other activities besides vehicle operations such as warehousing or vehicle recovery, only overheads specifically attributable to the haulage operation should be allocated directly to them.

Overheads are all business costs not specifically identified in the cost sheets.  Typically, but not exclusively, they will include:

a)            Management (including working directors), Supervisory and Clerical Salaries and Wages, including NHI, holiday and sickness pay and pension costs for those staff directly involved in the transport operation. Also include replacement staff. Where a manager is in charge of both the transport and the warehouse the costs need to be apportioned accordingly;

b)            Administration Overheads:  These include total property costs incurred by the transport operation, not including the warehouse (i.e. rents and rates paid, gas, water and electricity, property repairs and maintenance, general insurance, general office expenses, postage, telephone charges, legal fees, bank charges (not interest), hire or depreciation of furniture and equipment, IT systems, depreciation or rental of staff cars, subsistence payments to managers, audit fees, management consultancy fees and sales promotion, bad debts and security services, welfare and ancillary wages;

c)            Operational Overheads:  nclude Operator’s licence, goods in transit insurance, price of equipment such as sheets, ropes, dunnage, running of breakdown vehicles, service vans and staff cars including fuel, maintenance and cleaning of tanker/refrigerated/garage equipment, tachograph charts, tachograph analysis, tools and consumable materials.        


Other Costs

Additional costs such as bonuses, overtime hours and subsistence, tolls and ferry costs do not accrue on any consistent time or distance-related basis. They are specific to individual jobs. They must, therefore, be charged direct to those transport jobs as incurred and have therefore not been included in these Tables.

Distance-Related Costs

These are based on a best view of industry averages, adjusted annually by reference to the Survey.

Figures for these costs have been calculated as follows:


Fuel:                This is based on the latest bulk diesel prices as recorded weekly by the RHA. Consumption figures are based on the survey results.

You will need to keep a close watch on fuel prices and incorporate changes in your costs as they occur. You also need to include your own miles per gallon figures.

The recorded price at 30/09/15 was 86.69 pence per litre (£3.94 per gallon) in comparison with a fuel price of 103.64 on September 30th 2014 (£4.71).

The Fuel Adjustment Specimen Agreement and Calculations download in PDF here will assist you to ensure that fuel price increases and decreases are passed on fairly to your customers.


Lubricants & additives            These are included in the repairs and maintenance figures below.


Tyres:   These are based on average costs per mile taken from the survey.


Repairs & maintenance All service and repair related costs have been included under this heading, however, routine servicing costs and contract repairs (which are often charged on a monthly basis) are frequently recovered as a separate, time-related item.

NOTE   All of the costs we have outlined above will vary from operation to operation. This is why you must incorporate your own fleet figures when using these Tables.