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Carbon Calculator Calculation Methodology

Rail Freight Greenhouse Gas Calculator Information Methodology

CO2 emission estimates are calculated according to the following formula:
Tons of CO2 = {[(Tons of freight) × (Shipping distance)]
× (Mode-specific diesel consumption factor)
× (Mode-specific emission factor)}

Please note: CO2 emissions related to transloading or transfer operations and those related to the production of diesel fuel are not included. Truck fuel economy is based on an average fuel economy of 7 miles per gallon. Rail fuel economy is based on previous year's system average revenue ton-mile per gallon.

CO2 gas is the largest by-product of combustion emitted from engines and is the principal greenhouse gas considered in these estimations.

Conversion Factors Related to Railroad Operations
Imperial gallons to liters 4.5461
U.S. gallons to liters 3.7853
Liters to imperial gallons 0.2200
Liters to U.S. gallons 0.2642
Miles to kilometers 1.6093
Kilometers to miles 0.6214
Metric tons to tons (short) 1.1023
Tons (short) to metric tons 0.9072
Revenue ton-miles to revenue ton-kilometers 1.4599
Revenue ton-kilometers to revenue ton-miles 0.6850


  1. Rail versus Truck Fuel Efficiency: The Relative Fuel Efficiency of Truck Competitive Rail Freight and Truck Operations Compared in a Range of Corridors (1991), U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Policy, DOT/FRA/RRP-91/2, FRA, April 1991.
  2. GHG Protocol - Mobile Guide (03/21/05)v1.3, Table 4.
  3. Default Fuel Economy Factors for Different Types of Mobile Sources and Activity Data, www.ghgprotocol.org
  4. Energy Information Administration, Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government, Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, Fuel and Energy Source Codes and Emission Coefficients,www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/coefficients.html

Disclaimer: Please be advised that the CO2 emissions calculated with the CSXT Carbon Calculator are intended to be used only as an estimate. Further, it should be noted that entering unusually low or high values in the input fields of the carbon calculator may result in inaccuracies.