A Commercial From CSX Boasts Impressive Statistics
A TV commercial from the train company CSX is promoting the "transportation of tomorrow". In this commercial they trumpet their efficiency statistics which are rather impressive:
[Our] Trains can move a ton of freight 423 miles on a single gallon of fuel.I would be interesting to see under precisely what conditions these statistics hold true and how often this level of efficiency can be maintained. Those nittty gritty details will have to be researched more thoroughly in the future. However, this does make semi trucks look like money pits in comparison. According to Robert Clarke, president of the Truck Manufacturers Association, and the Department of Energy, increasing fuel efficiency of freight trucks 10% from 5.5 mpg to 6.5 mpg would save the US approximately a billion gallons of gas. And all of this could be be obtained by adding aerodynamic skirts, side mirrors, and gap enclosures to semi-trucks:
if every tractor/van semi-trailer combination truck in operation in the US adopted these technologies and improved fuel efficiency by 10%, it would translate into nearly one billion gallons per year of fuel savings. These small improvements collectively could make a huge difference in reducing fuel use.At $3 a gallon this means that we could save $3 billion dollars a year by simply adding some plastic pieces to the sides of semi-trucks. Now imagine if we switched over to trains which are not only vastly more efficient but have lower equipment and labor costs than semi-trucks. I haven't come across an in depth study on this topic but I would love to know how many billions of dollars would be saved per year. It would seem the number would be incredibly large.
- CSX, Environmental Stewardship
- Green Car Congress, Study: Improvements in Large Truck Aerodynamics Could Save US Nearly One Billion Gallons of Fuel Annually, November 14 2006
- Department of Energy, Leading Truck Manufacturers Unite with U.S. Department of Energy to Improve Fuel Efficiency in Tractor-Trailers November 15, 2006