Railroad Cost Indexes

Cost data provided by The Rail Cost Adjustment Factor (RCAF) and The All Inclusive Less Fuel (All-LF)

If you are trying to understand if rate increases by the rail carriers are reasonable, the Rail Cost Adjustment Factor (RCAF) provides useful data. The RCAF measures the rate of inflation in railroad inputs such as labor and fuel and is calculated by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).  The RCAF was created for regulatory purposes and is governed by the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

There are five indexes associated with the RCAF:

  1. The Forecasted All-Inclusive Index – the price index that underlies the RCAF
  2. The actual All-Inclusive Index – calculated when the data becomes available
  3. The RCAF (unadjusted) – derived by adjusting the forecasted All-Inclusive Index by the “forecast error” from the second prior quarter
  4. The RCAF (adjusted) – derived by modifying the RCAF (unadjusted) for moving five-year productivity gains as soon as the latest quarter of productivity is available
  5. The RCAF-5 reflects the five-year moving average productivity adjustment factor which is incorporated into the index during the first quarter of the year

AAR’s detailed description.

Productivity-Adjusted RCAF RCAF
 Year   Quarter Preliminary RCAF Forecast Error Adjustment RCAF
(Unadjusted)
RCAF
(Unadjusted Change)
Productivity Adjustment Factor RCAF (Adjusted) RCAF
(Adjusted Change)
PAF-5 RCAF-5 RCAF-5 Change
2014 Q1 0.985 -0.004 0.981 0.61% 2.3110 0.424 0.24% 2.4480 0.401 0.50%
Q2 0.997 -0.022 0.975 -0.61% 2.3168 0.421 -0.71% 2.4530 0.397 -1.00%
Q3 0.995 -0.010 0.985 1.03% 2.3226 0.424 0.71% 2.4588 0.401 1.01%
Q4 0.985 -0.008 0.977 -0.81% 2.3284 0.42 -0.94% 2.4642 0.396 -1.25%
2015 Q1 0.955 -0.009 0.946 -3.17% 2.3342 0.405 -3.57% 2.4704 0.383 -3.28%
Q2 0.911 -0.031 0.880 -6.98% 2.3382 0.376 -7.16% 2.4766 0.355 -7.31%
Q3 0.906 -0.077 0.829 -5.80% 2.3422 0.354 -5.85% 2.4828 0.334 -5.92%
Q4 0.885 -0.023 0.862  3.98% 2.3462 0.367 3.67% 2.4890 0.346 3.59%
2016 Q1 0.882 -0.018 0.862 0.00% 2.3502 0.368 0.27% 2.4932 0.347 0.29%
Q2 0.852 -0.012 0.840 -2.55% 2.3584 0.356 -3.26% 2.4974 0.336 -3.17%
Q3 0.884 -0.042 0.842 0.24% 2.3667 0.356  0.00% 2.5016 0.337 0.30%
Q4 0.876 0.005 0.881 4.63% 2.3750 0.371 4.21% 2.5059 0.352  4.45%
2017 Q1 0.899 -0.011 0.888  0.79%  2.3833 0.373 0.54% 2.5147 0.353 0.28%
Q2 0.908 -0.004 0.904 1.80% 2.3952 0.377 1.07% 2.5235 0.358 1.42%

All Inclusive Less Fuel Index

The All-FL Index was created to provide a parallel measure of the Rail Cost Adjustment Factor without the influence of the fuel cost component.  All of the components (Labor, M&S, etc.) used in the All-Inclusive Less Fuel match those of the All-Inclusive Index used to calculate the Rail Cost Adjustment Factor.

 Year   Quarter All Inclusive Less Fuel Forecast Error Error Adjusted
2014 Q1 99.7 -0.1 99.6
Q2 100.7 0.0 100.7
Q3 101.4 0.2 101.6
Q4 100.8 -0.2 100.6
2015 Q1 102.5 0.0 102.5
Q2 102.0 -0.1 101.9
Q3 101.9 -0.3 101.6
Q4 102.3 0.1 102.4
2016 Q1 103.7 0.4 104.1
Q2 103.6 -0.1 103.5
Q3 103.5 0.0 103.5
Q4 102.2 0.1 102.3
2017 Q1 105.3 0.00 105.3
Q2 105.3 0.2 105.5