Why be energy efficient?

The rail freight transport sector operates in a very competitive business environment, so small improvements in fuel efficiency or changes in fuel costs can have a big impact on profit and competitiveness.

Many energy efficiency measures also offer other benefits such as increased productivity and reduced maintenance costs.

Rail freight emits 75% less greenhouse gas emissions per tonne of freight moved compared to the road freight transport sector.

Investing in energy efficiency further improves rail transport’s competitiveness as economies transition to a low carbon future.

Ways to save

Two energy efficiency methods cover most of the fuel efficiency opportunities available to the rail freight sector. They include implementing fuel efficiency improvements, and using alternative drivetrain engine technologies. See Ways to save – Rail freight transport for more information.

Case study

Innovation and employee education save fuel 2011

PDF 257 KB

Since 2000, Union Pacific has gained a 19% improvement in fuel efficiency. This has been achieved mainly through utilising fuel efficiency improvements, better locomotive technology, engineer training and employee involvement.

Union Pacific

Key resource

Fuel for Thought - Potential energy efficiency opportunities in the Australian road and rail sectors 2011

This report catalogues potential opportunities for energy efficiency improvements in the Australian road transport (heavy duty vehicles only) and rail transport sectors. It was designed to supplement energy efficiency assessments undertaken by transport operators involved in the Energy Efficiency Opportunities program (now closed).

Department of the Environment and Energy

PDF version 1.5 MB