Fast Facts

The National Gateway strengthens freight rail– the most fuel efficient form of surface transportation.

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Rail is the most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly form of surface transportation. The National Gateway will create significant long-term environmental benefits by strengthening our nation’s freight rail system.

  • By making existing rail routes accessible to double-stack freight trains, the National Gateway will convert over 14 billion highway truck miles to freight rail.
  • The National Gateway will help save nearly 2 billion gallons of fuel and eliminate 20 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • Facilities built or expanded to support the National Gateway will implement modern, high-technology operating methods, such as electric crane systems to ensure that each facility is safe and environmentally friendly.
  • The environmental benefits of the National Gateway have been endorsed by environmental groups such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Conservation Fund, Ohio Environmental Council and Jones Fall Watershed.

The National Gateway builds on the existing environmental benefits of freight rail transportation:

  • A train can move a ton of freight more than 450 miles on a single gallon of fuel1.
  • On average, railroads are three or more times more fuel-efficient than alternatives, and with constant innovation freight rail becomes more efficient every day2.
  • The EPA estimates that moving freight by rail emits three times less nitrogen oxide and particulates per ton-mile than highway transportation2.
  • Shifting 10 percent of long-haul freight from the highway to the railroad would reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 12 million tons3.

1 - “Environment.” Association of American Railroads. 2011. Accessed at:

2 - “Overview of U.S. Freight Railroads,” National Atlas of the United States, September 17, 2009. Accessed at

3 - “Rail Intermodal Keeps America Moving,” Association of American Railroads, May 2010. Accessed at