The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said Class 1 railroad systems accounted for 12 percent of all the diesel fuel used by the transportation sector last year. Class 1 railroads account for nearly all of the freight traffic and the energy efficiency of rail has improved substantially over time.
The EIA said Class 1 railroads used 15 percent less diesel fuel last year than they did in 2000. The administration said, however, less tonnage was moved on U.S. rail systems
"Since 2008, the amount of coal moved by rail has declined, which has contributed to the decline in total tonnage moved by rail," the administration said Monday. "While coal is the commodity with the largest decline, nearly all commodity groups, with the exception of petroleum products, have lower rail tonnages in 2012 than in 2006."
U.S. rail systems are carrying more carloads of petroleum and petroleum products because the increase in domestic oil production has put a burden on existing pipeline capacity.
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