USA: The Federal Railroad Administration released a study on November 19 showing a 22% improvement in rail freight fuel efficiency between 1990 and 2006.
The Comparative Evaluation of Rail & Truck Fuel Efficiency on Competitive Corridors study by ICF International says reasons for increased efficiency include the acquisition of more than 13 000 new locomotives with cleaner engines, electronic controls and about half with AC traction, plus increasing use of longer and double stack trains, track and signalling improvements and the use of technology to reduce the number of wagons running empty.
Rail was found to be more fuel efficient than lorry on all 23 competitive movements. 'While all types of transportation are vital to the distribution of goods across the country, this study shows that utilising 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.'