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Rail News: BNSF Railway

Shippers cut carbon dioxide emissions last year by using rail, BNSF says


In 2013, BNSF Railway Co. customers reduced their carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by more than 30 million metric tons, which is equivalent to eliminating the emissions produced by the consumption of more than 3 billion gallons of diesel annually or by 6 million passenger vehicles each year, the Class I announced yesterday.

For the sixth straight year, BNSF provided its intermodal, automotive, industrial products and agricultural products customers with customized letters that analyzed their total rail carbon footprint and savings compared with moving their freight by truck. Calculations are based on commodity type and weight, and distance traveled by rail.

The calculation also takes into account the different fuel efficiencies of trailer, container or carload shipments. The calculation methodology was developed in consultation with Clear Carbon Consulting.

"Shipping by rail is the most fuel- and resource-efficient means for moving large volumes of freight long distances over land," said Steve Bobb, BNSF's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, in a press release. "BNSF provides tremendous value in reducing our country’s overall transportation emissions."

The railroad moves a ton of freight nearly 500 miles on one gallon of diesel, or more than three times the distance of trucks. Through that efficiency, the Class I reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than two-thirds compared with trucks on a ton-mile basis, BNSF officials said.