Fuel costs seem to rank high in surveys of US citizens most grave concerns. Rates up there at the top, doesn’t it?
Who are some heavy users of fuel that are not as often thought of? For surface transportation there are many indeed; cars, trucks, buses, etc. While we are talking about surface transportation, let’s talk about trains. The railroad has always been a big part and played an even larger part in the flow of fuel even before the locomotives used fuel. Even back when the trains were steam driven from coal. The Flow of Fuel is very important and no one can argue that, better than Rockefeller. As you know he was a master of the flow, all the way down to controlling his cost and his competitors costs on the rail lines.
By forcing restrictions on the distribution systems it was hard to compete and many an Oilman sold their companies to the “streamline by the numbers former accountant with the impeccable books.” Before you continue this discussion please go read the life story of Rockefeller and Standard Oil Company, then you may continue. Now let’s continue, today the railroad is a big user of fuel and the railroad is responsible for much of the major movement of fuel as well as the natural resources in our country. The railroad delivers fuel to terminals for trucking companies, without the railroads it would be difficult to supply the trucks with the needed fuel. Pipelines only go to so many places.
The railroads move chemicals out of the refineries, compete with them and their vendors to deliver the fuel and deliver to the trucking terminals, which are not near pipelines, while the railroad competes with the trucking companies to deliver products to the market or manufacturing companies. Then in the last decade or so you have seen an increasing amount of piggy back trailers from trucks on the flat bed railcars moving across the country due to high fuel costs, insurance costs, interstate trucking regulations, trucking unions, driver hour restrictions, road construction destroying equipment or slowing the traffic flow and shortage of qualified drivers. As all these methods compete in the market and for fuel, they also compliment each other providing our great nation with much redundancy, which at times seems wasteful, but in this newest era of the threat of International Terrorism, makes it nearly impossible to stop the turning wheels of industry, energy and commerce. The entire system moves on the flow of fuel.
The railroad companies can buy large amounts of fuel and store it and move it cheaper and has an inherent edge on the trucking industry. And where as the railroad is more efficient than the trucking industry, the tracks do not go everywhere. Also the loads need to be larger to make it worthwhile. So even if the railroads are more efficient the shipments must be broken down to get to their final destinations. Thus you will always need both forms of transportation, which are the two of the largest private users of fuel.
The railroad is one of the United States greatest assets for moving our products and part of the distribution system which has helped stabilize our civilization and allowed us to grow. Fuel costs are a huge issue in the rail roads and those costs are passed on to you and I, whether we realize it or not, in everything we buy
“Lance Winslow” – If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs