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Study: freight rail would save D.C. drivers nearly $1,000 per year

Washington Business Journal

Freight rail can help reduce time spent in traffic gridlock and save drivers hundreds of dollars in gasoline and hours behind the wheel, according to a traffic congestion study of 82 major urban areas.

If 25 percent of freight volume is shifted from trucks to rail by 2026, each driver in the D.C. area would annually save 38 hours in their car, 71 gallons of fuel and $891 in fuel costs, according to the study released by D.C.-based Association of American Railroads.

Since modern freight locomotives emit less nitrogen oxide and particulate matter than trucks, they would decrease air pollutant emissions by 22,000 tons in the area, and 920,500 tons across the U.S.

Freight trains, which are at least four times more fuel efficient than trucks, can move one ton of freight 436 miles on one gallon of fuel.

"Because one intermodal train can take nearly 300 trucks off our highways, shifting freight from trucks to trains reduces competition between commuters, drivers and freight traffic for space on the road," said Wendell Cox, author of the study and principal of Demographia. "Freeing up space on our highways increases the flow of traffic and saves commuters' time, money and gasoline."