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EIA - Discussion pages on LNG as a fuel for the railroad industry


Date: April 2014

Source: United States Energy Information Agency


The Energy Information Agency (EIA) has a page dedicated to following the use of LNG as a fuel for the railroad industry.  The page summarizes the current status of LNG in the railroad industry and provides useful links to other pages on the EIA site that have relevant information.

From the Page:

EIA projects that liquefied natural gas (LNG) will play an increasing role in powering freight locomotives in coming years. Continued growth in domestic natural gas production and substantially lower natural gas prices compared to crude oil prices could result in significant cost savings for locomotives that use LNG as a fuel source, according to EIA Annual Energy Outlook Taken together, the 7 major U.S. freight railroads consumed more than 3.6 billion gallons of diesel fuel in 2012, or 7% of all diesel fuel consumed in the United States. The fuel cost more than $11 billion in 2012 and accounted for 23% of total operating expenses.

Additional analysis can be found in the AEO2014 Issues in Focus.  EIA's AEO2014 includes two alternative cases (the High and Low Rail LNG cases) that examine the potential effect of LNG in freight rail. In the Reference case, LNG fuel use increases from just over 1 trillion Btu in 2017 to 148 trillion Btu in 2040, or 35% of total freight rail energy consumption. In the High Rail LNG case, LNG fuel consumption increases to 392 trillion Btu in 2040, or 95% of freight rail energy consumption. LNG consumption in the Low Rail LNG case increases to just 64 trillion Btu, or 16% of total freight energy consumption. Even under the High Rail LNG case, overall demand for natural gas as a result of a switch to LNG would increase overall demand for natural gas by less than 1%, resulting in a minimal effect on natural gas prices.

Other items on the page include a graph comparing energy consumption for freight rail using traditional fuels and LNG, recent and archived press releases as well contact information to get more details or explanations.