For Drivers paid on Cents Per Mile, (CPM for short), the way your employer calculates the miles you’ll need to drive from Point A to Point B can literally make or break your paycheck, which is why it’s important to understand what these industry specific terms mean.

Let’s cover the basics. The terms “Short Miles” and “Practical Miles” are industry standard labels used by trucking-specific mapping software to route trucks based on what your employer labels as priority. For example, if you want to avoid tolls, it’ll take you a very different route through Houston than it would if you wanted to avoid non-highways. 

For the purposes of this example, we’ll be using PC Miler to calculate our mileages.

Confusing? We know! Let's look at an example.

Let’s say you’re driving from Axis, AL to Davenport, IA. Seems like a pretty straight shot, how different could it be?

There’s a whopping 77 mile difference between each route!
For Drivers paid on Short mileage, that’s 77 miles that you’re not getting paid for.

But why are they so different? Let’s look a bit closer.

Short Route

Short Mileage Route

Total: 877 Miles

Short = Shortest Drive Distance

  •  Focuses only on the shortest literal mileage possible
  •  Does not consider time spent at stop lights, toll roads, etc.
  • Does not factor in truck-designated roads.


Practical Mileage Route

Total: 954 Miles

Practical = Shortest Drive Time

  • Keeps you on major, well-kept highways
  • Uses truck-designated routes when possible
  • Avoids roads with frequent turns
  • Avoids roads with tight turns
  • Avoids roads with stop lights
  • Avoids toll roads when possible

It’s clear to see that running Practical Routes equals less headaches for our Drivers, while also adding to their income!

Speaking of income…

How does this effect your paycheck?

Let’s break it down using the same Axis to Davenport run we used earlier.

Company A

This company pays 0.60 cents per mile on Short Miles.

Company B

This company pays 0.57 cents per mile on Practical Miles.


Without knowing anything about Practical Mileage, most people would assume that Company A would be the better paying company.

They would be wrong!

Company A

This company pays 0.60 cents per mile on Short Miles.

Just like we saw earlier, the Short Mile route from Axis to Davenport is 877 miles.

If we do the math, 0.60 times 877 equals


Company B

This company pays 0.57 cents per mile on Practical Miles.

The Practical Route from Axis to Davenport is 954 miles.

0.57 times 954 equals


In conclusion...

The Driver at Company B actually made more than the Driver at Company A, even though they picked up and delivered at the same locations.

After reviewing the facts, it’s clear to see why we pay our Drivers on Practical Mileage!

Want to experience the difference for yourself?

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