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Freight Facts and Figures 2013

Table 5-11. Energy Intensities of Domestic Freight Transportation Modes: 2007-2011

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 relatively stable, while rail and water have improved somewhat.

Table 5-11

Table in Excel format

Blank cell. 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Highway1 (BTU per vehicle mile) 21,238 21,008 21,024 (R) 21,499 21,698
Railroad (Class I) (BTU per freight car mile) 14,846 14,573 13,907 13,733 14,043
Railroad (Class I) (BTU per ton mile) 320 305 291 289 298
Domestic Water (BTU per ton mile) 225 252 225 217 NA

Key: BTU = British thermal unit; NA = not available; R = revised.

1Includes heavy single-unit and combination trucks. Heavy single-unit trucks are trucks that have two axles and at least six tires or a gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 10,000 pounds. Based on a new methodology, FHWA revised its annual vehicle miles traveled, 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 September 20, 2013.


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