Sounds like we might need to get used to oil-hauling trains exploding. New rules that would require railways to use stronger cars for transporting crude will not be ready until next year, the federal government announced this week.
There are a few reasons why we're seeing more oil-train explosions these days. The main one is the huge rise in the amount of oil being extracted in the U.S. and then transported by rail to refiners. Also, fracked crude from the Bakken formation in North Dakota is particularly explosive thanks to its higher levels of light hydrocarbons and, possibly, the presence of flammable fracking chemicals. And DOT-111 tanker rail cars, which make up 70 percent of the nation’s tanker fleet, puncture easily.
Here's Fuel Fix with an update on forthcoming railcar safety rules: