How Much Do Crude Haulers Make?
In the oilfields, commercial driver license holders can choose from several different types of driving-oriented jobs. One of the highest paying driving jobs relating to oilfield work is that of the crude oil hauler. Now, it should be noted that crude haulers, while in high demand (as with other oilfield jobs), are expected to have professional driving experience. They also must have hazardous materials and tanker endorsements on their CDLs. However, if you have these endorsements or plan to get them, you’ll open yourself up to many new job opportunities. As for driving experience, many crude hauling companies want drivers that have at least two years’ worth (though it doesn’t always have to be tanker pulling experience). Not every company will require experience, however, especially if they are desperate for drivers, as long as the applicant can show that he or she already possesses a CDL with endorsements. In addition, all companies will train their new drivers, including those with experience. Each and every company has its own way of doing things, so training is a must (especially where crude hauling is concerned, because safety is so important).
So, how much can you make as a crude oil hauler? We created a table, shown below, that gives the details. We collected this information by talking to a handful of crude haulers within the last year (2013 into early 2014) and noted what they claimed to earn. Some drivers are paid by the mile, some by percentage of load, and some by the hour. So, we took all of these figures and created a table that allows you to view pay rates based on an “apples to apples” comparison. We essentially boiled down all of the numbers that we had into an “earnings per day” average, per each driver that we talked to. Then, we asked each driver how long his workday was on average. Most drivers work a 12-hour day. 14-hour days are common as well. We then calculated a driver’s stated earnings per day and divided this by how long his average day was. As you can see, a crude hauler can expect to earn at least $20 per hour. The average hourly pay rates below take into account straight time along with overtime pay, since gigs that pay by the load or mile don’t pay time-and-a-half when the driver works more than 40 hours in a week. New drivers won’t make the higher dollar amounts when first starting out (especially if they are fortunate enough to land crude gigs without experience), but the earnings potential will increase with experience.
We have heard anecdotal reports of experienced crude drivers making in the $90k – $120k per year range. These kinds of earnings are gained from 70-hour or longer work weeks. In addition, crude drivers are expected to “slip seat” (that is, share trucks with other drivers), and sometimes drive trucks that have seen better days. However, while crude oil drivers have to load and unload their tankers, they don’t have to engage in backbreaking labor such as loading or unloading pallets of freight into or out of 53′ vans.
[table id=4 /]