Did you know that traveling by rail contributes less per passenger mile to greenhouse gas emissions than either cars or airplanes? According to U.S. Department of Energy data, Amtrak is 11 percent more efficient than domestic airline travel and 31 percent more efficient than auto travel on a per-passenger-mile basis. Amtrak is also committed to making recycling an integral part of train travel — onboard, in our stations and in our train yards.
Amtrak is a charter member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, the world's first legally-binding integrated greenhouse gas reduction and trading system. When Amtrak joined the Exchange in 2003, it committed to cutting diesel emissions by 6 percent by 2010. This represents the largest percentage of reduction committed to in the United States on a voluntary basis and is the first commitment made by a transportation company.
* U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory Data on Fuel Efficiency - Transportation Energy Data Book (Edition 33), Table 2.12
A carbon footprint is a measure of the effect you have on the climate in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases you produce (measured in units of carbon dioxide). Many of your daily activities generate carbon emissions which have an impact on the health of the environment.
You can reduce your carbon footprint by offsetting your rail travel with contributions to projects like reforestation, renewable energy development and energy efficiency technologies.
To get a sense of how your travel on Amtrak will impact your carbon footprint, enter the city and state of your origin and destination, along with the number of passengers into the Rail Calculator.
Learn more about how you can offset some of the impacts of your carbon footprint.
When you ride the Auto Train and take your vehicle off the road, you save yourself traffic headaches, time and money while also giving the earth a break by minimizing your impact on the environment. The Auto Train emits about half the greenhouse gasses that would be emitted if all the 370 cars the Auto Train can transport were driven on the highway. Put another way, the amount of greenhouse gasses reduced each year by using the Auto Train is equivalent to taking 3,478 cars off the road for a full year.
Sources: Amtrak & U.S. EPA data
When it comes to defining green travel, Amtrak leaves its competitors green with envy. Our powerful electric propulsion engines save precious resources and reduce greenhouse gases by consuming 11 percent less energy per passenger-mile compared to airplanes, and 31 percent less energy than automobiles. Yet with two locomotives on each train, Acela generates enough strength and speed to get you from Washington D.C. to Boston — and cities along the way — safely, efficiently and in an eco-friendly way.
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory Data on Fuel Efficiency - Transportation Energy Data Book (Edition 33), Table 2.12
Check out these helpful reports to get more details about our commitment to environmentally friendly travel.