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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB seeks public comments on proposed fuel surcharge practice changes


The Surface Transportation Board has come up with proposals to change railroads’ fuel surcharge practices. Now, board members want to know what the public thinks about the measures.

The STB is accepting public comments on the proposals — which the board issued after conducting a public hearing on fuel surcharges May 11, and reviewing testimony submitted from railroads and shippers— until Sept. 25.

The STB proposes that:
• railroads develop a fuel surcharge computation more closely linked to increased diesel costs attributable to a movement;
• railroads be prohibited from “double dipping” by assessing a fuel surcharge and a rate escalator based on an index, such as the STB’s Railroad Cost Adjustment Factor, without first subtracting any fuel-cost component from the index;
• railroads be required to use the Energy Information Administration’s “U.S. No. 2 Diesel Retail Sales by All Sellers (Cents per Gallon)” as a single, uniform index to measure fuel-cost increases; and
• each Class I submit a monthly report to the board showing total fuel costs, diesel consumption and fuel surcharge revenue, and how much of the revenue was shared with connecting short lines.