BNSF - Environment - Fuel Efficiency

Fuel Efficiency

Railroads are the most fuel-efficient mode of surface transportation. Steel wheels moving on steel rails, combined with the lower aerodynamic drag of a single train pulling hundreds of loads of freight, provide inherent advantages for rail. In fact, rail is more than three times as fuel efficient as long-haul trucks.

Because railroads run on diesel fuel, the pursuit of energy efficiency is one of BNSF's most important strategies to reduce both our environmental impact and our operating costs. BNSF's fuel efficiency has increased by 10 percent since 2005. BNSF has replaced approximately 40 percent of the locomotive fleet with clean lower emission locomotives.

Improvements in operating and maintenance practices have a substantial impact on our fuel efficiency. First and foremost, our machinists maintain our locomotives and railcars in top condition. Our engineering team lubricates rails to help reduce the friction between the wheels and the rails. In addition, locomotive engineers are trained to shut down idling locomotives, isolate or shut down unneeded locomotives in trains, pace trains and adjust acceleration and braking to conserve fuel.