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Freight Facts and Figures 2012

Table 5-11. Energy Intensities of Domestic Freight Transportation Modes: 2007-2010

Energy intensity is the amount of energy used to produce a given level of output or activity, in this case vehicle miles and ton miles. In recent years, the energy intensity of trucking has remained stable, while rail and water have improved.

Table in Excel format

Blank cell. 2007 2008 2009 2010
Highway1 (BTU per vehicle mile) 21,238 21,008 (R) 21,024 21,463
Railroad (Class I) (BTU per freight car mile) 14,846 14,573 13,907 13,733
Railroad (Class I) (BTU per ton mile) 320 305 291 289
Domestic Water (BTU per ton mile) 225 252 225 217

Key: BTU = British thermal unit; R = revised

1Based on a new methodology, FHWA revised its annual vehicle miles travelled, number of vehicles, and fuel economy data beginning with 2007. Energy intensity data is based on FHWA fuel use methodology. Information on the new methodology is available at Data in this table should not be compared to those in pre-2011 editions of Freight Facts and Figures.


Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 31 (Oak Ridge, TN: annual issues), table 2.15, available at as of August 5, 2012.


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