Home Trucking Articles Where Truck Drivers Get Paid the Most: Top 25 Cities By Salary and Cost of Living

Where Truck Drivers Get Paid the Most: Top 25 Cities By Salary and Cost of Living

Truck driving is a well-paying job, especially for a career not requiring postsecondary education. However, being a trucker based in some cities is better than others because of the cost of living.

You can read how we calculated the best cities for truck driver salary in the methodology section at the bottom of this page.

Top Cities At A Glance

Click on any city to jump to the full description or continue to the complete review of best-paying cities.

City Salary Cost of Living
1. El Paso, TX $48,340 1.56x cost of living
2. Tulsa, OK $53,810 1.53x cost of living
3. Lexington, KY $47,260 1.41x cost of living
4. Salt Lake City, UT $49,100 1.38x cost of living
5. Lincoln, NE $51,840 1.38x cost of living
6. Madison, WI $52,160 1.36x cost of living
7. Dallas, TX $46,600 1.36x cost of living
8. Boise, ID $47,520 1.35x cost of living
9. Reno, NV $50,460 1.35x cost of living
10. Louisville, KY $50,180 1.34x cost of living
11. Des Moines, IA $50,550 1.34x cost of living
12. Little Rock, AR $46,480 1.33x cost of living
13. Cincinnati, OH $46,580 1.31x cost of living
14. St. Louis, MO $49,440 1.30x cost of living
15. Vancouver, WA $50,600 1.30x cost of living
16. Phoenix, AZ $48,080 1.29x cost of living
17. Wichita, KS $43,800 1.29x cost of living
18. Eugene, OR $48,290 1.29x cost of living
19. Kansas City, MO $49,170 1.28x cost of living
20. Memphis, TN $44,700 1.28x cost of living
21. Fort Worth, TX $48,600 1.28x cost of living
22. Oklahoma City, OK $45,760 1.27x cost of living
23. Las Vegas, NV $48,420 1.26x cost of living
24. Denver, CO $51,760 1.26x cost of living
25. Bellingham, WA $53,250 1.26x cost of living

25 Best-Paying Cities for Truck Drivers by Cost of Living

1. El Paso, TX

El Paso has an average annual salary of $48,340.
This is 1.56 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

El Paso

El Paso is one of the top places to live in Texas because of its low cost of living and wealth of recreational activities. Most residents are bilingual in Spanish and English, so if you are as well, you could fit right in—and that may help you find a trucking job.

There are many trucking companies in El Paso, including Old Dominion Freight Line, Southwest Freight Lines, and Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution.

2. Tulsa, OK

Tulsa has an average annual salary of $53,810.
This is 1.53 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Tulsa

If you’re looking for a big-city experience with a small-town feel, look no further than Tulsa. As the second-largest city in Oklahoma, Tulsa combines livability with great outdoor adventures and an affordable cost of living.

You’ll find several trucking companies based in Tulsa, including Miller Truck Lines, Paul Transportation, and Melton Truck Lines

3. Lexington, KY

Lexington has an average annual salary of $47,260.
This is 1.41 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Lexington

Where the Midwest meets the South lies Lexington, Kentucky. The capital city of Kentucky and horse capital of the world boasts an educated population, low cost of living, and stable economy.

Find positions with Lexington trucking companies like Dayton Freight, Haynes Trucking LLC, and Federated Transportation Services of the Bluegrass, Inc.

4. Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City has an average annual salary of $49,100.
This is 1.38 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Salt Lake City

Once known solely as the Mormon capital of the world, rest assured you can still get a strong cup of coffee in Salt Lake City, Utah! With beautiful natural features and a strong job market, Salt Lake City is a great place to settle down.

Salt Lake City is home to plenty of trucking companies, including Godfrey Trucking, CTC Trucking, and Pride Transport.

5. Lincoln, NE

Lincoln has an average annual salary of $51,840.
This is 1.38 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Lincoln

Part of the “silicon prairie,” Lincoln boasts good jobs, low cost of living, and a strong economy. Plus, for fans of the Huskers and the sandhill cranes alike, there’s a huge range of activities in this capital city.

Truck drivers in Lincoln, Nebraska, may find job opportunities at local companies like Lincoln Trucking, Schulz Transportation, and Advantage Trucking.

6. Madison, WI

Madison has an average annual salary of $52,160.
This is 1.36 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Madison

With a Big 10 school, the state capitol, and a world-renowned farmers market, Madison, Wisconsin has something for everybody—and a good job market and high quality of life to boot.

Live near it all in Madison and work for a trucking company like CET Truck Service or Bullet Transit Company.

7. Dallas, TX

Dallas has an average annual salary of $46,600.
This is 1.36 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Dallas

Whether you’re into the cowboy lifestyle or restaurants and retail shops, Dallas has a small-town feel in a large metropolitan area. Young people are flocking to Dallas, bringing a vibrant, energetic feeling to the city.

Trucking companies in Dallas include Summit Trucking, Stevens Transport, and Design Transportation.

8. Boise, ID

Boise has an average annual salary of $47,520.
This is 1.35 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Boise

Boise, Idaho, is ranked the 20th best and 5th safest place to live in the U.S. It’s often considered a great place to live, raise a family, enjoy food and drink, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Settle in Boise, Idaho, and seek a truck-driving job at a company like Transmark Cartage Services (TCS) and Leighton Transport.

9. Reno, NV

Reno has an average annual salary of $50,460.
This is 1.35 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Reno

Reno, Nevada ranks 17th in the nation for quality of life. With big-name shows touring through town, a strong arts and food scene, and lots of outdoor activities, Reno offers something of interest to everyone—whether living there or just passing through.

Reno is home to several local trucking companies, including  Capurro Trucking and Specialized GE Transport.

10. Louisville, KY

Louisville has an average annual salary of $50,180.
This is 1.34 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Louisville

Picket-fence pastures meet easygoing city life in this cultural heart of the state. Louisville, Kentucky boasts a thriving art scene, cultural must-sees like the Louisville Slugger Museum and Churchill Downs, and affordable living. In fact, Louisville is one of the least expensive cities in the country!

In Louisville, you can find local trucking companies like Carnes Trucking and M&M Cartage.

11. Des Moines, IA

Des Moines has an average annual salary of $50,550.
This is 1.34 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Des Moines

At the nexus of affordability, safety, and overall quality of life is Des Moines, Iowa. This capital city is home to miles of bike trails, plenty of outdoor activities, local farmers’ markets, and attractive, affordable houses.

Find local trucking jobs in Des Moines at companies like Crawford Trucking, TMC, and Niece Trucking.

12. Little Rock, AR

Little Rock has an average annual salary of $46,480.
This is 1.33 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Little Rock

Come to Little Rock, Arkansas, for the parks, restaurants, and excellent public schools; stay for life. Ranked the 20th best place to retire, Little Rock is a city with a suburban feel and enjoy living near beautiful natural features like the Ozark Mountains.

Explore Little Rock and its home-based trucking companies like CalArk, Bruce Oakley, Inc., and SAIA.

13. Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati has an average annual salary of $46,580.
This is 1.31 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Cincinnati

Do you have kids? Cincinnati is renowned for its public, private, and Montessori schools. Cincinnati is a great place to grow roots thanks to its locally-based sports teams, ample restaurants, and family-friendly activities.

Well-positioned in the heart of the nation, Cincinnati is home to Trans-States Express, Thomas Trucking, and Ace Doran.

14. St. Louis, MO

St. Louis has an average annual salary of $49,440.
This is 1.30 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

St. Louis

Straddling both Missouri and Illinois along the Mississippi River, St. Louis boasts culture, recreation, and a cost of living that’s 13.8% lower than the U.S. average.

Enjoy the benefits of St. Louis living and explore local trucking jobs at companies like Vega Transport, Affton Trucking, and Transport One.

15. Vancouver, WA

Vancouver has an average annual salary of $50,600.
This is 1.30 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Vancouver

Don’t mind mild, wet winters? Vancouver, Washington, is near enough to Portland to enjoy the benefits without the expense of living in the city! With high home values, lots of arts and culture, and endless outdoor activities, Vancouver is your key to the Pacific Northwest.

In your job search, consider Vancouver-based trucking companies like Vanport Trucking, Joel Olson Trucking, and Gulick Trucking.

16. Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix has an average annual salary of $48,080.
This is 1.29 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Phoenix

Are you tired of rain and gloom? Phoenix, Arizona,  gets around 300 days of sun each year—more than any metro area in the U.S. Plus, it’s just a few hours from a wide range of experiences, including the Coconino National Forest, the Grand Canyon, artsy Scottsdale, and more.

While you consider your next place to call home, take a look at Phoenix trucking companies like Northland Trucking, Stewart Transport, and May Trucking.

17. Wichita, KS

Wichita has an average annual salary of $43,800.
This is 1.29 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Wichita

The low cost of living, minor league and college sports teams, and many family activities make Wichita, Kansas, a great place to start a career. The old wild west meets city life in this Midwest town!

Consider Wichita your new home base and start your career with a local company like Groendyke Transport, Freight Logistics, and Sudbury.

18. Eugene, OR

Eugene has an average annual salary of $48,290.
This is 1.29 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Eugene

Nestled between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Eugene, Oregon, is infused with outdoor recreation opportunities, college-town entertainment, shopping, and more. Enjoy the diversity infused by the University of Oregon and the mild climate with abundant greenery.

Make Eugene your home and look to start your career at trucking companies like National Transport Inc. or Oak Harbor Freight Lines.

19. Kansas City, MO

Kansas City has an average annual salary of $49,170.
This is 1.28 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Kansas City

The Kansas City, Missouri metro area spans both Missouri and Kansas across the Missouri River. With a thriving arts scene, great schools, sports teams, and food options, Kansas City draws families and students to visit and make the area their home.

Local trucking companies in Kansas City, Missouri include KC Intermodal, R&B Trucking, M&J Transportation, and Scot Heller.

20. Memphis, TN

Memphis has an average annual salary of $44,700.
This is 1.28 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Memphis

Come for the music, stay for the entertainment! Beyond its reputation as a music haven, Memphis, Tennessee, is home to the National Civil Rights Museum, a famous zoo, local sports, and plenty of good food. Plus, Memphis boasts a lower cost of living than most other U.S. metro areas.

If you settle down in Memphis, look for jobs driving with local trucking companies such as Empire Express, JNJ Express, Mid South Transport, or Ozark Motor Lines.

21. Fort Worth, TX

Fort Worth has an average annual salary of $48,600.
This is 1.28 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Fort Worth

Enjoy cowboy life—as a fan of the wild west or the NFL team—in Fort Worth, Texas. Enjoy the benefits of quiet, suburban life near the amenities of a major metropolitan area with an international airport, and take advantage of ample Tex-Med food while you’re at it!

If you’re looking for truck driving jobs in Fort Worth, consider local companies like Lone Star Transportation, Raider Express, or Fort Worth Carrier Corporation.

22. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City has an average annual salary of $45,760.
This is 1.27 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Oklahoma City

If you’re looking to live somewhere that celebrates its cowboy culture while welcoming an ever-growing population of young, energetic residents, look no further than Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. With a lower cost of living than average U.S. cities and events like night markets, an annual regatta festival, and food truck fleets, Oklahoma City is a great place to start the next chapter of your life.

If you’re looking for trucking jobs in Oklahoma City, check out companies like Stevens Trucking, A&A Trucking, Freymiller, and FTC Transportation.

23. Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas has an average annual salary of $48,420.
This is 1.26 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Las Vegas

Think beyond the famed Strip when you think of Las Vegas, Nevada. Ranked the 15th fastest-growing place in the U.S., the area’s lower cost of living attracts many families and young folks to the cities and suburbs just outside the glitzy bubble of downtown Vegas. Plus, residents can take advantage of the many musical and entertainment shows that come through town!

Trucking companies in Las Vegas include Knight Transportation and Paul Delong Heavy Haul.

24. Denver, CO

Denver has an average annual salary of $51,760.
This is 1.26 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Denver

Ranked the 2nd best place to live in the U.S., Denver offers endless outdoor opportunities and a vibrant and evolving city life. From countless restaurants and breweries to museums to great weather in every season, there’s hardly anything you can’t do in Denver.

Look for local trucking jobs near Denver at companies like May Trucking, Navajo Express, and Denver Cartage.

25. Bellingham, WA

Bellingham has an average annual salary of $53,250.
This is 1.26 more than the estimated cost of living for a single person.

Bellingham

Nestled between Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia is Bellingham, Washington—home to phenomenal schools, vibrant nightlife, young residents, and lots of nearby outdoor recreation opportunities.

If you’re considering living in Bellingham, Washington, look for trucking jobs at companies like Ludtke Trucking, Jadpak Trucking, and Point Roberts Auto Freight.

Truck Driver Pay in Other Major Cities

Here’s the rest of the list, with more cities with high pay for truck drivers relative to the cost of living—and some where you might struggle to get by.

City Salary Cost of Living
26. Indianapolis, IN $45,830 1.26x cost of living
27. Riverside, CA $49,770 1.25x cost of living
28. Houston, TX $45,670 1.25x cost of living
29. Chattanooga, TN $44,440 1.25x cost of living
30. Akron, OH $44,610 1.24x cost of living
31. Everett, WA $53,060 1.24x cost of living
32. Spokane, WA $50,440 1.23x cost of living
33. Baltimore, MD $49,680 1.22x cost of living
34. Tucson, AZ $45,510 1.21x cost of living
35. Olympia, WA $48,620 1.21x cost of living
36. Austin, TX $42,320 1.21x cost of living
37. Nashville, TN $48,230 1.21x cost of living
38. Saint Paul, MN $53,020 1.20x cost of living
39. Albuquerque, NM $43,520 1.19x cost of living
40. Raleigh, NC $47,220 1.19x cost of living
41. Anchorage, AK $61,160 1.19x cost of living
42. Jacksonville, FL $45,890 1.19x cost of living
43. San Antonio, TX $42,720 1.19x cost of living
44. Fresno, CA $44,290 1.19x cost of living
45. Albany, NY $47,790 1.18x cost of living
46. Sacramento, CA $50,520 1.18x cost of living
47. Rochester, NY $46,820 1.18x cost of living
48. Pittsburgh, PA $51,890 1.18x cost of living
49. San Jose, CA $51,440 1.18x cost of living
50. Jersey City, NJ $54,500 1.18x cost of living
51. Orlando, FL $45,270 1.17x cost of living
52. Long Beach, CA $47,890 1.17x cost of living
53. Knoxville, TN $43,260 1.17x cost of living
54. Portland, OR $50,600 1.16x cost of living
55. Ann Arbor, MI $47,900 1.16x cost of living
56. Minneapolis, MN $53,020 1.16x cost of living
57. Richmond, VA $43,920 1.15x cost of living
58. Columbus, OH $46,820 1.15x cost of living
59. Cleveland, OH $48,010 1.14x cost of living
60. Omaha, NE $44,780 1.14x cost of living
61. Chicago, IL $51,040 1.14x cost of living
62. Philadelphia, PA $49,640 1.14x cost of living
63. Fremont, CA $51,440 1.13x cost of living
64. Charlotte, NC $45,590 1.13x cost of living
65. Baton Rouge, LA $41,470 1.13x cost of living
66. Birmingham, AL $47,490 1.12x cost of living
67. Queens, NY $54,500 1.11x cost of living
68. Buffalo, NY $45,550 1.11x cost of living
69. Colorado Springs, CO $45,540 1.11x cost of living
70. Detroit, MI $43,030 1.11x cost of living
71. Atlanta, GA $47,060 1.10x cost of living
72. Milwaukee, WI $49,380 1.10x cost of living
73. Saint Petersburg, FL $43,630 1.09x cost of living
74. Huntsville, AL $39,450 1.09x cost of living
75. Irvine, CA $47,890 1.09x cost of living
76. San Diego, CA $48,340 1.08x cost of living
77. New Orleans, LA $45,270 1.08x cost of living
78. Seattle, WA $53,060 1.07x cost of living
79. Boston, MA $52,250 1.06x cost of living
80. Los Angeles, CA $47,890 1.05x cost of living
81. Washington, DC $48,720 1.04x cost of living
82. Oakland, CA $51,440 1.03x cost of living
83. Salem, OR $45,240 1.02x cost of living
84. Tampa, FL $43,630 0.99x cost of living
85. Mobile, AL $39,320 0.99x cost of living
86. San Francisco, CA $51,440 0.97x cost of living
87. New York, NY $54,500 0.97x cost of living
88. Miami, FL $41,590 0.94x cost of living
89. Honolulu, HI $50,480 0.94x cost of living
90. Charleston, SC $41,780 0.94x cost of living
91. Bend, OR $42,980 0.93x cost of living
92. Fort Lauderdale, FL $41,590 0.92x cost of living

Methodology

To determine the best-paying cities for truck drivers when compared to the cost of living, we compared:

  • The latest data on average pay by metro area for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which they last updated in May 2019
  • The average cost of living in 92 U.S. cities from Numbeo’s January 2021 data

We used the cost of living data for a two-person household who a one-bedroom apartment in each city. Certain other consumer assumptions were made for a modest lifestyle. We only included major U.S. cities for which both the salary and cost of living data were available from the sources above. In the ranking of top 25 cities, the “number of times the annual cost of living” figure was rounded, so that cities that appear to have the same figure are not in fact equivalent.

It’s worth noting that since the Bureau of Labor Statistics last updated the salary information for New York, the state has updated its minimum wage. This may affect the pay versus the cost of living information soon. The best place for updates regarding salary is the BLS website, which is typically updated mid-year and uses the previous year’s pay.