What Is The Difference Between Intrastate and Interstate Trucking?

interstate trucking

Whether you’re planning to start your own trucking company and looking into the pros and cons of interstate and intrastate trucking, or you already have a business and want to branch out or shift between either of these, it’s important to be fully aware of the difference between interstate and intrastate trucking. This involves not just knowing what they mean but also the regulations, the profits, load options, and the success likelihood of each. 

What is Interstate Trucking?

Let’s start with the basics; interstate trucking involves hauling cargo across the state border. It includes transporting loads across the country’s borders.

Examples of Trucks Used In Interstate Transportation Of Goods

  • Tankers
  • Flatbed Trucks
  • Dry Vans
  • Refrigerated Trailers
  • Semi Trucks, Eighteen Wheelers, Tractor Trucks

What is Intrastate Trucking?

Intrastate trucking involves hauling goods within a state from one place to another. The state borders cannot be crossed in this kind of transports.

Examples of Trucks Used in Intrastate Transportation Of Goods

  • Garbage Truck
  • Dump Truck
  • Tow Truck
  • Concrete Mixing Truck
  • Box Truck
  • Bucket Truck

Difference between Intrastate and Interstate Trucking 

  • Truck Size And Capacity

Generally, trucks that run interstate are larger and can carry more cargo as compared to trucks that run intrastate.

  • Cost And Insurance Coverage

Since interstate trucks are bigger, not only do they cost more, but they also have better insurance coverage in case of any accidents happening. Intrastate trucks are usually cheaper.

  • Likelihood Of Success

For most business owners, it is common to go for interstate trucking since it opens up more options and has a broader scope of success than intrastate trucking.

  • Regulations

A big part of trucking involves making sure that your business operates within the rules and limitations set by the respective governing authorities. In this case, running intrastate might mean you have to follow fewer regulations compared to those running interstate. In intrastate trucking, you also have to make sure to keep all the necessary documentation, e.g., DOT number, trucking authority, MC number, etc., with you at all times on the job.

  • Goods

One of the major differences between interstate and intrastate trucking is the type of cargo they transport. What you plan to haul can have a significant effect on whether you plan to operate within the state or outside of it.


Q. Are there any similarities between intrastate and interstate trucking?

  1. Yes, there are certain factors all trucking companies have to take care of regardless of whether they run interstate or intrastate. This includes drugs and alcohol testing, hazardous materials, CDL requirements, and commercial truck insurance.

Q. What is the process for shifting from intrastate to interstate trucking?

  1. When you change your business from intrastate to interstate transportation, you have to change from following state regulations to federal regulations so that you can legally transport goods in every state. Instead of adhering to the state laws, you will now have to follow the FMCSA’s regulations.


Hence these are the main variations between interstate and intrastate trucking, along with the pros and cons of each. They each have their strengths, and depending on your goal; you can set up a successful business in either of these fields.

Also Read: How To Avoid Overweight Truck Fines?

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