Pipelines Are the Most Cost-Effective Mode of Energy Transportation

Natural gas pipelines and linked utilities are the safest, most cost-effective and efficient form of energy delivery in the nation.

Economist Kevin Gillen enumerates that, “transportation by train is significantly more expensive than transportation by pipeline. Just to give you some numbers, it costs about $10 to 50 a barrel to transport a barrel of gas by train, compared to only $5 a barrel to transport it by pipeline. So the cost of transportation by train is two to three time the transportation by pipeline.”


Gillen explains that “transportation by truck is even more expensive for the simple reason that it takes lots and lots of trucks that it takes the same amount of natural gas that one train car can carry. In general, the number is that a truck can only carry about one-third of a tank of natural gas that a train could carry. So now you need three trucks for every train car. That’s going to increase the cost of transporting natural gas nearly five or six times what it would have cost to transport by pipeline.”

Recent developments at the Marcellus and Utica Shale demonstrate the breadth of U.S. natural gas supply and its capacity to expand industry and grow the local economy. Gillen warns that “the increase in capacity that we would need if we were to transport the additional production by truck is huge. Currently only four percent of natural gas – both in the United States and the Commonwealth – is transported by truck. We have doubled the amount of natural gas production in recent years. If we were to double the amount of our trucking fleet, it still would not be enough to carry the additional capacity of natural gas. So we would have to add a huge number of trucks to our roads in the Commonwealth…to transport the increase in production of natural gas which of course would not only increase the probability of accidents and environmental damage, but would also increase the amount of congestion on our roads as well. Trucks cause major congestion. That’s going to have an adverse effect on our economy because it’s going to increase the amount of time it takes for people to commute to work or time it takes to transport other goods and services throughout the Commonwealth. Not to mention just the general unpleasant inconvenience of additional truck traffic on our roads.”