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Thread: $6 Billion Rail Fuel Surchage Controversy

  1. #1
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    $6 Billion Rail Fuel Surchage Controversy

    Big-buck brouhaha:
    October 1, 2007
    ...The analysis...found that Union Pacific, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Kansas City Southern, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe collected $11.7 billion in fuel surcharges from 2003 through the first quarter of 2007 as their fuel costs increased by $5.3 billion...
    ...The Association of American Railroads labeled the report a "duplicitous accounting sham...an extraordinarily misleading report."...
    Chemical & Engineering News

  2. #2
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    so they charge a little bit more than they actually paid for the fuel.
    ever order anything thru the mail and have to pay a $9.95 "handling" charge on a $4 widget that costs $2 to drop in a mail box?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by novaderrik View Post
    so they charge a little bit more than they actually paid for the fuel.
    ever order anything thru the mail and have to pay a $9.95 "handling" charge on a $4 widget that costs $2 to drop in a mail box?
    $6 billion more?!

    It isn't just the price of fuel that has risen. Everything has gone up. Except wages.

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    brouhaha
    Love that word!
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
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    Generally railways aren't run like pizza parlours with the proprietor able to charge whatever she deems best. But not knowing what the arrangements are in the U.S. it's hard to know what this controvesy is about. Not that I'm saying anyone needs to explain, I'm just pointing out that a lot of us don't have the background to understand the situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Brak View Post
    Generally railways aren't run like pizza parlours with the proprietor able to charge whatever she deems best. But not knowing what the arrangements are in the U.S. it's hard to know what this controvesy is about. Not that I'm saying anyone needs to explain, I'm just pointing out that a lot of us don't have the background to understand the situation.
    What if it's run by a "he?'

  7. #7
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    What if it's run by a "he?'
    I said the word she,
    And not the word he,
    For as you can see,
    Every she has inside her a he.

    Just remove the S,
    And look at what's left,
    And you will soon see,
    What's left is a he.

    That little snake,
    A woman will make,
    Curled in front of a man,
    The letter S understand?

    So don't throw a fit,
    And go into a snit,
    Men are are not excluded,
    When the S is included.

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    That has to be the best response to that I have ever seen.

    It is a good thing I wasn't drinking something hot.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sarongsong View Post
    brouhaha:
    Love that word!
    It's a ticklish beer.

  10. #10
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    I thought it was what follows "I will rule the world". ;-)
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    ...It isn't just the price of fuel that has risen. Everything has gone up. Except wages.
    Amen!
    ...and weren't the airlines adding a fuel surcharge for awhile, too?

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    isn't rail still the cheapest and cleanest way to get large amounts of cargo across the continent in a timely manner, even with the fuel surcharge?
    break that $6 billion or whatever down to a cost per rail car, then we'll see if it isn't still a bargain.
    besides, the railroads gotta get the money to pay their "maintainence" crews. every time i see a crew working on the railroad, it usually consists of no less than about 6 men- 3 of them are sitting in the truck and 2 of them are leaning against shovels watching the youngest guy actually doing something. the money to pay those guys just doesn't come from nowhere, does it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by novaderrik View Post
    isn't rail still the cheapest and cleanest way to get large amounts of cargo across the continent in a timely manner, even with the fuel surcharge?
    break that $6 billion or whatever down to a cost per rail car, then we'll see if it isn't still a bargain.
    besides, the railroads gotta get the money to pay their "maintainence" crews. every time i see a crew working on the railroad, it usually consists of no less than about 6 men- 3 of them are sitting in the truck and 2 of them are leaning against shovels watching the youngest guy actually doing something. the money to pay those guys just doesn't come from nowhere, does it?
    Option one:
    You seem to be forgetting that all these costs are already covered.
    This is a fuel surchage we are talking about. And they stuck it to us and got a $6 billion dollar profit by milking.

    I for one do not like being taken advantage of nor being squeued over.

    Option Two:
    You are being sarcastic and I owe you big fat Dr Pepper.

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    i was being 100% serious.
    what i'm saying is that, even with the fuel surcharge, is rail still not the cheapest and best way to transport large amounts of cargo across large areas of land?
    in the end, all that really matters is the cost to the consumer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by novaderrik View Post
    i was being 100% serious.
    what i'm saying is that, even with the fuel surcharge, is rail still not the cheapest and best way to transport large amounts of cargo across large areas of land?
    in the end, all that really matters is the cost to the consumer.
    You are saying that it's ok for them to swindle us as long as they don't swindle us as badly as another option would?
    That is preposterous!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    You are saying that it's ok for them to swindle us as long as they don't swindle us as badly as another option would?
    That is preposterous!
    So we have 2 studies that conflict from conflicting sides of the issue, in an article that has very little in the way in facts, yet you are willing to get "up in arms" about the situation? I personally feel that both sides are giving a snow job.

    Without knowing changes in tonnage, mileage, unit cost of fuel, and methods of accounting, and what exactly was included in the study, then how can you know exactly what the change is?

    Besides, this story sounds like it was just extracted from a much larger issue that is dealing with antitrust legislation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    You are saying that it's ok for them to swindle us as long as they don't swindle us as badly as another option would?
    That is preposterous!
    isn't that the very definition of Capitalism?
    if you can find a cheaper and quicker way to transport huge amounts of cargo from one place to another, then you can use that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by novaderrik View Post
    so they charge a little bit more than they actually paid for the fuel.
    ever order anything thru the mail and have to pay a $9.95 "handling" charge on a $4 widget that costs $2 to drop in a mail box?
    Yep. And that was a simple $4 widget. Multiply times several billion gallons of fuel used, and your point is well made.

    It's still wrong, but it's understandable, if not acceptable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    So we have 2 studies that conflict from conflicting sides of the issue, in an article that has very little in the way in facts, yet you are willing to get "up in arms" about the situation? I personally feel that both sides are giving a snow job.

    Without knowing changes in tonnage, mileage, unit cost of fuel, and methods of accounting, and what exactly was included in the study, then how can you know exactly what the change is?

    Besides, this story sounds like it was just extracted from a much larger issue that is dealing with antitrust legislation.
    I'd rather get up in arms and be wrong...
    Than be quietly screwed over.

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    isn't that the very definition of Capitalism?
    if you can find a cheaper and quicker way to transport huge amounts of cargo from one place to another, then you can use that.
    "Although nowadays there are ideological capitalists - people who support a set of ideas about the economic benefits and importance of "free markets" - the term capitalism was first used to describe an the system of private investment and industry with little governmental control which emerged, without an ideological basis, in the Netherlands and Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries. A "capitalist" was an individual who invested money (or capital) in a given business venture. ..."

    - Web definition of capitalism

    As I mentioned before railways usually aren't run like pizza parlours. As they have certain monopoly like characteristics they are typically publically owned often operating with varying degrees of private contracting. If you tried to build a new railway line to compete with existing track you'd soon run into plenty of obstacles which would demonstrate that existing lines have plenty of protection from competition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    I'd rather get up in arms and be wrong...
    Than be quietly screwed over.
    Can I check your blood pressure in a few years?

    I can understand the sentiment, but I see a difference between up in arms over what one side is saying, and up in arms about what's not being said (shoot the messenger style).

    As long as it's not a direct to customer cost, then I don't see too much for myself to get upset about, unless the middleman is in cahoots with the rail. Usually, the middleman will help keep things in check.

  22. #22
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    We're charged a fuel surcharge on our electric bill. I guess it's gotten expensive to ship electricity over the road these days. And here I thought it came by wire, silly me.

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