Office of Operations Freight Management and Operations

Table 5-10. Energy Intensities of Domestic Freight Transportation Modes: 1980-2005

Energy intensity is the amount of energy used in producing a given level of output or activity, in this case vehicle miles and ton miles. Since 1980 the energy intensity of both trucking and freight rail has improved. However, over the same period, domestic freight water transportation, measured by Btu per ton-mile, has become less energy efficient.

Table in Excel format | Historical data

empty Cell 1980 1990 2000 2004 2005
Highway (Btu per vehicle-mile) 24,757 22,795 23,448 20,540 20,539
Railroad (Class I) (Btu per freight car-mile) 18,742 16,619 14,917 15,274 15,152
Railroad (Class I) (Btu per ton-mile) 597 420 352 341 337
Domestic water (Btu per ton-mile) 358 387 473 510 514

Key: Btu = British thermal unit

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 25 (Oak Ridge, TN: 2007).

To view Excel files, you can use the Microsoft Excel Viewer.

Office of Operations