We are frequently asked about the effect of location on the value of a used truck. In other words, will a used truck sell for more in one state or region than in another? We have looked at this data in the past, and have not drawn definitive conclusions outside of common wisdom – namely, that lower horsepower engines take a larger hit in mountain states than in other areas, and that there is very little demand for pre- EPA2007 trucks in California and other western port states. 

To date, we have not released figures supporting this wisdom. Logically, regional microeconomies and access to used truck supply vary. So it is possible that location itself is a factor impacting value. 

To examine this issue, we split our retail database of aerodynamic sleeper tractors into five regions: Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and West. Trucks included were model years 2008-2012 sold in calendar year 2013. We chose MY2008 as the cutoff so EPA2007 would be the spec for all trucks. We limited the database to trucks with mileage inside our acceptable range of 100-125,000 per year. 

The results are statistically sound, with an adequate number of trucks representing each region. The high-low average age spread was 0.4 year, and the high-low average mileage spread was 24,996. Specs were very similar between region. As such, we did not need to perform any age or mileage adjustments. 

On to the results. Overall, trucks sold in the western part of the country appear to outperform those in the east. Specifically, trucks sold in the Southwest region brought just over $3,300 (or about 5.6%) more than the lowest region (Southeast) on average. The Southwest and West perform nearly identically, with less than $600 (or under 1%) separating the two regions. See chart below for detail.

Trucks sold in the Northeast and Southeast appear to be used slightly harder than their western counterparts, as those two regions represent the high end of the mileage range. However, the difference is not great enough to entirely explain the pricing difference. Brand and model representation is the main factor. Higher-value trucks such as the Peterbilt 386 and Kenworth T660 are represented in greater proportion in our Southwest and Western data than in the Southeast and Northeast. Similarly, lower-value trucks such as the International ProStar are represented in greater proportion in our Southeast data. Drilling down to specific model would be the best way to eliminate this variable, but at that point our volume of data for individual regions would test the lower limit of validity.

For now, we can state that location is a factor impacting value, but it is not at the top of the list when determining the value of a used truck. At most, the difference is in the low single digits percentage-wise, with the Southwest and Western regions representing the high and the Southeast and Northeast representing the low. 

We will revisit this analysis early next year using CY2014 data. Also, stay tuned for regional analysis of the owner-operator market.