BNSF: Carbon Estimator Shows Railroad Saves Every American Greenhouse Gas

FORT WORTH — BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) said it has developed a new tool that allows shippers to quantify the amount of carbon emissions that can be saved for those route segments on rail instead of over the road.

Overall, shipping by BNSF can save Americans an average of 200 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per American per year, which is the equivalent of planting 37 trees for each person living in the United States, the railroad said.

“Earlier this year, BNSF provided its customers with customized letters that analyzed their total rail carbon footprint and savings compared to movements of those shipments over the road,” said John Lanigan, executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Because of the overwhelming positive customer response to this yearly analysis, we wanted to provide our customers with a tool they can use to determine environmental benefits before they make their transportation choice.”

The new BNSF Carbon Estimator tool bases its calculations on commodity type and weight, and distance traveled by rail. It also takes into consideration the different fuel efficiency of trailer, container or carload shipments, and incorporates the required truck movements to and from BNSF intermodal facilities. The calculations used by the BNSF Carbon Estimator and its accuracy have been verified by Clear Carbon Consulting.

“In addition to conserving scarce energy resources, rail provides tremendous value in reducing the country’s overall transportation emissions and carbon footprint,” Lanigan said. “In 2008, BNSF reduced our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 million metric tons by moving shipments over the rail rather than on our nation’s crowded highways. We hope this new tool helps our customers make greener transportation choices. After all, if you can’t calculate it, you can’t change it.”