Intermodal Shipping and its Environmental Impact
Concerned about the environment? Here are a few things to consider about intermodal shipping:
Did you know that railroads are one of the most environmentally friendly modes of freight transportation?
Freight trains are almost four times more fuel-efficient than over-the-road trucks and have less impact on greenhouse gas emissions than trucks.
Depending on the make and model, trains can move a ton of freight between 423 to 830 miles on a single gallon of fuel.
According to the EPA, freight railroads account for just 2 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources and well under 1 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from all sources.
Fuel efficiency for U.S. railroads has increased by 86 percent since 1980. In 1980, a gallon of diesel fuel moved one ton of freight an average of 235 miles. In 2007, the same amount of fuel moved one ton of freight an average of 436 miles, lowering our dependency on foreign oil.
Railroads and rail suppliers have reduced the weight and increased the capacity of rail cars to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The average freight car capacity is now nearly 100 tons, up 20 percent since 1980.
One double-stack train can take 300 trucks off of congested highways.
If just 10 percent of the freight moved by highway were diverted to rail, the nation would save as much as 1 billion gallons of fuel.
Like NFI, the major intermodal carriers are EPA SmartWay Transport Partners.
Each ton-mile of freight moved by rail reduces greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds, compared to transportation by truck.