Since 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. U.S. freight railroads, on average, move one ton of freight nearly 500 miles per gallon of fuel, making trains three to four times more fuel-efficient than trucks, on average. 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 0.5% of total U.S. GHG emissions, according to EPA data, and just 1.9% of transportation-related GHG emissions.
With a 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.