In a program in its fourth year, BNSF provided customers in the intermodal, automotive, industrial products and agricultural products sectors with customized reports that analyzed their total rail carbon footprint and savings compared to movements of those shipments exclusively over the highway.
BNSF says that to move a ton of freight 500 miles by rail takes, on average, a single gallon of diesel fuel. It estimates that rail is at least four times more efficient than an all-highway option.
The rail company based calculations for its customers on commodity type and weight, and distance traveled by rail. The calculation also considers the different fuel efficiencies of trailer, container and carload shipments. BNSF developed the calculation methodology in consultation with Clear Carbon Consulting.
BNSF also has a carbon calculator on its website, allowing users to enter commodity type, volume, mileage and equivalent truck volume, and compare their carbon footprint to what it would have been if they shipped by truck only.
BNSF railway executives have been making efforts to reduce air pollution for a number of years, after the company was criticized for the health risks associated with its operations. The company also has been working with LPB Energy Management since 2010 to measure, report and reduce its energy costs and usage.