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The saying goes that everything is bigger in Texas. The Lone Star State certainly has the most pickup trucks and is also home to the most semi-truck drivers. You might not think speed mixes very well with big rigs. But even the speed limits are bigger in Texas. The “Pickle Parkway” (state highway 130) is a toll road allowing motorists to circumvent Austin traffic clogged by semi-trucks. At 85 mph, its speed limit is the highest in the U.S. Only three countries have any roads with higher speed limits.

Texas has the most pickup trucks–and the most truckers

Orange semi-truck drives through Austin Texas Tesla factory site near state highway 130.
Texas semi-truck | Bronte Wittpenn/Bloomberg via Getty Images

There are a mind-boggling number of pickup trucks registered in Texas. As of 2019, the Department of Transportation recorded 5,354,628 trucks wearing Texas plates. Only two other states even broke two million: California and Florida.

The Texas love of trucks doesn’t stop at pickups. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes employment data through May 2022. At that time, Texas led the country with 210,940 professional truck drivers. According to, Texas has 66,000 trucking companies, and one in every 16 Texans is employed by the trucking industry. In fact, approximately 12% of the vehicles on the Texas roads at any given time are commercial trucks.

Texas has over 300,000 miles of public roadways. Of these, 3,200 miles are divided highways. And one 130-mile highway–the Pickle Parkway–can claim the highest speed limit in the U.S.A.

The tale of the Pickle Parkway

One reason Texas has so much trucking is all the freight entering and leaving Mexico. After the North American Free Trade Agreement (1994), the number of trucks in Texas climbed every year. By the late 1990s, traffic on I-35 between Austin and San Antonio had slowed to a crawl.

In 2002, a private corporation called Lone Star Infrastructure proposed extending the existing State Highway 130 as a toll road, a high-speed alternate route that motorists could use to skip this endless traffic jam. The tollway was a long, multi-section project with a budget of nearly $3 billion.

The road’s funders needed to make it too attractive for motorists to ignore–despite its tolls. How do you get the attention of frustrated drivers stuck in a traffic jam? You advertise the highest speed limit in the U.S.A. – 85 mph.

Texas State Highway 130 was named the “Pickle Parkway” in honor of U.S. Congressman J.J. “Jake” Pickle. It is still a major part of everyday life for drivers in Austin. But the private corporation that operates a section of the road could never recoup its costs and had to declare bankruptcy in 2016.

What is the world’s fastest road?

There is a three-way tie for the highest posted speed limit in the world: Poland, Bulgaria, and Abu Dhabi all have a 140 km per hour highway. This translates to 87 mph, making them a hair faster than Texas’ “Pickle Parkway” (85 mph). Sections of the German Autobahn and the highways on the Isle of Man have no posted speed limit at all.

Next, read about the state with the most pickup trucks per capita or learn why the Pickle Parkway’s speed limit is controversial in the video below: