There’s nothing more American than baseball, hotdogs, apple pie, and of course — pickup trucks. Unfortunately, it seems our national obsession with pickups is costing the average American dearly.

A new report from the Detroit Free Press has found that soaring prices are making pickup trucks out of reach for the average buyer. In the last 10 years, the cost of a full-size pickup skyrocketed by almost 50%, the largest price increase of any vehicle segment.

Citing data from Edmunds, the report found that the average price of a full-size light-duty pickup in 2018 came to $48,377, a 48% jump from 2008, and an almost 20% boost from just five years ago.

The figures are nearly identical with Kelley Blue Book prices, which projects a $48,369 price tag for the average full-size pickup today. And yet, Kelley’s statistics show that most buyers expect to pay about $10,000 less than the current average price.


While the soaring prices can be partly attributed to inflation, the rise in median household income for the average truck buyer failed to match the price increase over the last decade. In 2009, the median household income of prospective truck owners stood at $76,660. Today, that metric is now $100,305, a considerable increase but still not comparable to the 48% jump in sticker prices over the same period.


The soaring cost of pickups has also led to a “gentrification” of the truck owner demographic. From being a work vehicle used by farmers and laborers, today’s owners tend to be college graduates with a higher household income than the average car buyer. In fact, the report shows that among full-size pickup owners, only 15% use it for business, while about 25% of heavy-duty owners use their vehicle for work.

Just like the humble jeans, it seems the pickup truck has completed its transition from blue-collar ride to status symbol.