New Study Shows Freight Rail Fuel Efficiency Up More Than 20 Percent Since 1999

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released a study showing vast improvements in freight rail fuel efficiency over the last two decades, approximately 22 percent between 1990 and 2006.

“While all types of transportation are vital to the distribution of goods across the country, this study shows that utilizing America’s freight rail system can lead to significant fuel savings,” said FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo. “The environmental benefits of these positive changes over the last two decades are enormous. We look forward to working with the freight rail industry to make sure these gains continue.”

Several factors point to the reasons for rail’s fuel efficiency, including the improvement in diesel-electric locomotives, the increased use of double stack trains, track and signal improvements, and longer trains.