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USDOT analyzes GHG emissions; AAR touts railroads' fuel efficiency


Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released a report that shows all modes can reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions in various ways, such as by using low-carbon fuels, increasing vehicle fuel economy, improving system efficiency and reducing travel.

Titled “Transportation’s Role in Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions” and mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the report states 29 percent of all U.S. GHG emissions and 5 percent of global emissions are due to fuel consumed to power U.S. transportation vehicles. Between 1990 and 2007, emissions from U.S. transportation modes increased 27 percent and accounted for about one-half of the nation’s total.

Emissions could be lowered 5 percent to 17 percent by 2030 by reducing the number of vehicle-miles traveled, according to the report, which also reviews policy options for implementing emission-reduction strategies.

“Transportation is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gases, and the transportation sector must be a big part of the solution,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) released an environmental report of its own showing U.S. freight railroads averaged 480 ton-miles per gallon of diesel in 2009, a high fuel-efficiency mark. Since 1980, freight-rail fuel efficiency has increased 104 percent, according to the AAR, which determined railroads are four times more fuel efficient than trucks.

“Railroads are moving more while consuming less fuel, which means we’re emitting fewer greenhouse gases and easing highway congestion,” said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger in a prepared statement. “If just 10 percent of the long-haul freight currently moving on our crowded highways was moved by rail, annual fuel savings would exceed 1 billion gallons.”

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More News from 4/23/2010