OECD/ITF Joint Transport Research Centre Discussion Papers

The International Transport Forum at the OECD is an intergovernmental organisation with 52 member countries. It acts as a strategic think tank for transport policy and organizes an annual summit of ministers. Our work is underpinned by economic research, statistics collection and policy analysis, often undertaken in collaboration with many of the world's leading research figures in academia, business and government. This series of Discussion Papers is intended to disseminate the International Transport Forum’s research findings rapidly among specialists in the field concerned.

English, French

Importance of Oil Price in Freight Transport Costs

Oil is the main component of transport fuel. As for now, however, crude oil price (FOB-Free on board) accounts for less than a fifth of transport costs. Operating costs, wages and taxes cause the remaining four fifths. Nevertheless, oil scarcity may raise fuel costs to such a level that transport companies and citizen may suffer significant adverse impacts. A multiplication by 8 of the price of oil (compared to 2007) would double road transport cost. Yet, the rise would be global, which would enable operators to shift the cost to their clients without suffering changes in competition. Still, small operators that would not be in a position to optimize truck loads and routes would be threatened. Major oil price rise would mainly affect two aspects of mobility: aviation and private motoring. Air companies have added a special oil charge to ticket cost while changes in private motoring, which uses approximately as much fuel as air per passenger – kilometre, may lead to a situation where only the wealthiest citizens may keep driving.


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