The modern economy may be powered by the information highway, but it depends on real highways and the trucks that use them. The current national shortage of truck drivers could eventually hit Massachusetts especially hard because trucks deliver 93 percent of the goods consumed in the state.

Overall, 70 percent of goods in the United States are moved by truck, according to a report from the American Trucking Associations. Drivers are retiring and aren’t being replaced. The industry estimates it needs to hire 900,000 more to keep the goods flowing.

French Barton, a long-distance truck driver for more than 20 years, has hauled everything from wheelchairs to baby food.

“It’s kind of something every little boy at my age and my generation grew up wanting to do,” said Barton, who's in his forties.

But Barton said he can understand why that’s not the case these days because of “limited home time perhaps, or the travel and being away from home for extensive periods of time."

E-commerce has driven up the demand for deliveries, Ed Rodricks, a member of the board of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts.

“We don’t want to go to a store anymore. We want a truck driver to bring it to the front door,” Rodricks explained. “So that’s really diluted the driver pool.”

Rodricks said the state association has bumped up efforts to recruit and retain more drivers.

“We’re getting driver trainees right out of driver tractor school and doing what some people call a finishing school for truck drivers,” Rodricks said. “At a couple of our companies, we’ll put an experienced driver in the cab with the brand-new graduate from truck driving school for up to a year.”

The shortage affects trucking beyond the larger, long-haul trucks like Barton's. Driving them requires special training and a commercial driver’s license.

Also affected are fleets of grocery delivery trucks and other smaller trucks, whose drivers only need a regular driver’s license.

John Melo, a vice president of the Roche Bros. chain of supermarkets, said people increasingly want their groceries delivered, but finding drivers for even his smallest trucks has become a constant challenge.

“If someone were the come up to me and said, ‘Hey, listen I’m a driver. I would love to get involved in the business,’ we’d hire them in a minute,” Melo said.

About 125,000 people work in the state's trucking industry, generating nearly $400 million in roadway taxes. Rodricks suggested if the trucking industry doesn't start hiring a generation of new drivers, consumers could suffer down the road.

“It’s eventually going to hit the consumer,” Rodricks said. "Everything you consume got to you by a truck, whether it’s cross country or local produce.”

That means eventually you could be paying more online and at stores.