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Rail and the Earth

energy used btu transit comparison In celebration of Earth Day we thought it would be fitting (or rather obligatory) to provide some data on the environmental advantages of rail travel. According to U.S. Department of Energy data, rail is 17 percent more efficient than domestic airline travel and 21 percent more efficient than auto travel on a per-passenger-mile basis. When combined with all modes of transportation, passenger railroads emit only 0.2 percent of the travel industry’s total greenhouse gases. energy used btu transit comparison table This reminds us of what Walter Zullig said during our recent program on the future of rail: “The biggest opportunity for rail is the environmental considerations, especially as energy prices continue to climb,” said Zullig. “Education about the benefits of rail – in terms of energy, air quality, quality of life – can go a long way. We need to create a ground swell of public demand. Then the politicians would be forced to listen.” [images courtesy of Amtrak]