U.S. oil-by-rail traffic increasing

Aug. 9, 2013 at 7:32 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. railroads carried more petroleum products in July, easing the overload on pipelines, while coal carrying was off, a railroad trade group said.

Energy companies working in the United States have turned to rail as booming production levels strain existing pipeline capacity. The Energy Department this week said crude oil production in July increased to 7.5 million barrels per day, the highest level in more than 20 years.

The Association of American Railroads said rail traffic was up 2.5 percent in July when compared with last year. A weekly average of 243,725 carloads in July was the highest average for any July in history.

AAR said deliveries in July of petroleum and petroleum products increased 24.9 percent last month when compared with July 2012. The increase for petroleum deliveries is consistent with an ongoing trend, it said.

For coal, AAR said Thursday deliveries were down 4.1 percent from July 2012 levels.

"The remaining rail traffic segments are mixed, reflecting an economy that's moving in the right direction but not firing on all cylinders," AAR Senior Vice President John Gray said in a statement.

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