Small tanker trucks have a maximum capacity of 3,000 gallons, while large tankers have a maximum capacity of 11,600 gallons. However, the maximum capacity of a tanker truck depends on the density of the liquid being transported, explains Bulk Cargo Systems. Tanker trucks are categorized by volume capacity and size.
The smaller-capacity tanker trucks transport liquid cargo throughout a local community. These types of trucks are typically used at airports to fuel aircraft. Small tankers also deliver domestic fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas, to homes. This type of tanker normally carries less than 1,000 gallons. Large tankers transport more than 11,000 gallons and carry various liquids, including hazardous materials.
Many tanker trucks are capable of transporting various liquids simultaneously. These tankers use several compartments and are capable of transporting a variety of liquids, including industrial chemicals, concrete, diesel, milk, gasoline and water. Each individual liquid has a different density, which alters the tanker's maximum carrying capacity.
Although tanker trucks vary in size, the tankers all have the same distinct shape that provides maximal storage capacity. Bulk Cargo Systems explains that tankers contain several baffles to keep liquid movement to a minimum. The compartments aid in stabilizing the truck and offer increased transport efficiency.