Technology fuels freight rail’s commitment to protecting the environment and mitigating climate change.
Since greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are directly related to fuel consumption, freight railroads have strategically implemented technologies like locomotive fuel management systems and anti-idling systems to further reduce their environmental footprint. Armed with innovations like these — as well as zero emission cranes, improved railcar designs and more efficient operations — freight railroads are further extending their position as the most fuel-efficient way to move freight over land. Today U.S. freight railroads, on average, move one ton of freight more than 470 miles per gallon of fuel, making trains three to four times more fuel efficient than trucks. Railroads move roughly one third of U.S. exports and account for roughly 40% of long-distance freight volume (measured by ton-miles), and at the same time only account for 0.6% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to EPA data, and just 2.1% of transportation-related GHG emissions.
With a private freight rail network that stretches nearly 140,000 miles, every improvement drives down emissions across communities coast-to-coast. Through smart, targeted investments and innovative technology, freight railroads strive to increase fuel efficiency, drive down GHG emissions, and make rail operations even more resilient.
Freight rail is well ahead of other modes of transportation when it comes to limiting greenhouse gas emissions, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing its carbon footprint. U.S Environmental Protection Agency data show freight railroads account for only 0.6% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and only 2.1% of the transportation-related sources, while accounting for 40% or more of long-distance freight volume (measured by ton-miles).