For carbon savings, fuel efficiency, U.S. freight rail carriers ‘delivering the goods’

Goods delivery: it’s big business!

And the U.S. freight railroad industry moves freight more efficiently and has a lower carbon footprint, all things being equal, than any other single mode.

TrainIn effect, this is the message of an Apr. 22, 2013 Association of American Railroads (AAR) press release, whereby the AAR states unequivocally, “Ton-miles-per-gallon is a standard measure of fuel efficiency for hauling freight much like miles-per-gallon is a standard measure of fuel efficiency for motor vehicles. Overall, freight rail fuel efficiency is up more than 100 percent since 1980.”

What’s more, the AAR notes, on average, the industry hauled in 2012 a ton of freight, on a single gallon of fuel, 469 miles. It speaks volumes!

Also according to the AAR, America’s freight railroads’ carbon footprint is but a fraction of that of other goods-hauling modes.

“[AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward R.] Hamburger noted a federal government study found railroads are on average four times more fuel efficient than trucks. ‘Railroads are moving more freight while consuming less fuel, which means we’re emitting fewer greenhouse gases and easing highway congestion,’ he said. ‘America can save even more fuel by shipping more by rail. If just 10 percent of the long-haul freight currently moving on our crowded highways were moved by rail, annual fuel savings would equal roughly 1 billion gallons.”

Quite an impressive track record, I’d say!

Bottom line: when it comes to fuel efficiency and eco-friendliness, America’s freight rail carriers are delivering the goods.

– Alan Kandel