U.S. freight railroads in 2012 moved a ton of freight an average of 476 miles using one gallon of fuel, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Overall, freight-rail fuel efficiency has climbed more than 100 percent since 1980. Railroads have spent billions of dollars on thousands of new, more fuel-efficient locomotives and to overhaul older units. Industry research also is under way on hybrid long-haul locomotives and locomotives that can be powered by liquefied natural gas, AAR officials said in a press release.
"The nation's freight railroads not only haul the goods that America depends on every day, but they do so efficiently and with a fraction of the carbon footprint of other modes of transportation," said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger.
A federal government study found railroads are on average four times more fuel efficient than trucks, Hamberger noted, adding that railroads emit fewer greenhouse gases and are helping to ease highway congestion.
"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," he said.
Browse articles on Association of American Railroads on Progressive Railroading