BTS: DOT-117 Compliance Tops 85%

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Bureau of Transportation Statistics

According to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. crude oil rail tank car fleet exceeded 85% compliance with DOT-117 safety standards, in 2021, up from 80% in 2020.

In accordance with the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the BTS released its Fleet Composition of Rail Tank Cars Carrying Class 3 Flammable Liquids: 2022 Report (downloadable below). The report discusses the progress in upgrading the rail tank car fleet to the DOT-117 standard, which meets new safety requirements, and summarizes the types of rail tank cars carrying Class 3 flammable liquids. There is a rolling phase out schedule of tank cars based on both tank car type and flammable liquids carried. In 2021, 57% of all rail tank cars carrying Class 3 flammable liquids were built to the DOT-117J (new) or DOT-117R (rebuilt) specification.

Inventory of Rail Tank Cars Carrying Class 3 Flammable Liquids

There were no phase-out deadlines in 2021. The next major deadline is in 2023, when all DOT-111 and CPC-1232 tank cars are prohibited from carrying ethanol. A large proportion (78%) of ethanol carrying cars in 2021 already met the new DOT-117 standards. There were 7,473 tank cars carrying ethanol in DOT-111 and CPC-1232 that are due to be replaced with DOT-117 cars.

Breakdown of Tank Cars by Compliance with the FAST Act as well as Phase-Out Deadlines for Non-Compliant Tank Cars

BTS survey results indicate that 8,322 DOT-117J and DOT-117R tank cars are projected to be built or retrofitted in 2022.

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