The average American uses 88 megawatt-hours per year, the average German uses 47. Americans can cut our energy use in half and still have an advance economy. Cutting our energy use in half by 2019 is the path to solving the Civilization Killers currently facing America.

Driving a car costs about 59.2 cents per mile. JPods vehicles operate a 4 cents per vehicle-mile. Energy and costs are highly correlated. The chart below compares energy per passenger-mile for various modes of transportation.

FTE is Freight Train Equivalent. The 140,000 miles of freight railroads in the US average 470 ton-miles per gallon of diesel. This is over 140 times the efficiency of moving a ton to move a person in a car on highways. In contrast to the efficiency of rails networks, the government highway monopoly retains the efficiency of the Model-T.

The average gas mileage of all cars and trucks sold in the U.S. in January was 25.4 miles per gallon. While that was up from 25.1 mpg in December, it was down from August's all-time high of 25.8 mpg. As gas prices have slid, more people have been buying larger, more fuel-thirsty vehicles.

In this example, energy required per passenger-km is .89 watt-hours. This illustrates the efficiency of rail. This vehicle carried 3 people without air conditioning and other creature comforts required for commerical systems. Still this is a good example of efficiency hundreds of times better than highway networks.

The 2015 CSX system-wide train efficiency metric equals:

229,562,353,000 ton-miles / 487,540,790 gallons = 471 ton-miles per gallon.

In other words CSX trains, on average, can move a ton of freight nearly 500 miles on a gallon of fuel, based on our 2015 revenue ton miles and 2015 fuel use.

The fuel efficiency for a freight truck can be estimated in a similar way. For example, a heavy-duty diesel truck that hauls 19 tons of freight a distance of 500 miles would consume approximately 71 gallons of diesel fuel. The efficiency of this freight haul would be calculated as:

(19 tons x 500 miles) / 71 gallons = 134 ton-miles per gallon.

My calculations:

Platform Trucks get 7.8 mpg

Tractor-trailers get 5.3 mpg, 80,000 GVWT with a typical road weight of 59,500. Vehicle weight is about 35,000 pounds, or payload of 25,500 pounds or 12.75 tons, or (12.75*5.3) = 67.6 ton-miles per gallon.

This efficiency might be stated as “a truck can move a ton of freight 134 miles on a gallon of fuel.”

Similarly, a typical train might haul 3000 tons of freight 500 miles and consume approximately 3185 gallons of diesel fuel. The efficiency of this freight haul would be calculated as:

(3000 tons x 500 miles) / (3185 gallons) = 471 ton-miles per gallon.

This efficiency might be stated as “a train can move a ton of freight 471 miles on a gallon of fuel.”

In this example, the train is approximately 3.5 times more efficient at hauling freight.

Additional information about fuel efficiency for various modes can be found on Mother Nature Network.