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Environmental Benefits of Moving Freight by Rail

Environmental Benefits of Moving Freight by Rail

Railroads are the most environmentally sound way to move freight over land. On average, trains are four times more fuel efficient than trucks. They also reduce highway gridlock, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. Through the use of greener technologies and more efficient operating practices, our nation’s privately owned freight railroads are committed to even greater environmental excellence in the years ahead.

Preserving the natural environment is a responsibility railroads take seriously.

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.

What helps make such a large iron horse locomotive so eco-friendly? Technology.

From advanced locomotive technology to zero emission cranes, freight railroads leverage technology in all aspects of their operations to limit their impact on the environment. Thanks in part to these technologies, U.S. freight railroads can, on average, move one ton of freight 479 miles per gallon of fuel, making rail the most environmentally friendly way to move freight over land. Additionally, moving freight by rail instead of truck lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 75%.

This commitment to technology is a growing factor in freight rail’s impressive environmental record. Railroads move approximately one-third of all U.S. exports and intercity freight volume in the United States. Despite the large volume of freight moved, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data show freight railroads only account for 0.5% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and just 2% of emissions from transportation-related sources.