Fuel Efficiency
AUG 07, 2020

Something to “Fuel” Good About

CN leads the rail industry in locomotive fuel efficiency/carbon intensity

At CN, we continue to Deliver Responsibly for a sustainable future by using less locomotive fuel to ship freight for our customers. In fact, the second quarter of 2020 was the most fuel-efficient quarter in CN’s history! During April, May and June, the railway used only 0.88 US gallons of locomotive fuel per 1,000 gross ton miles (GTMs), on average. This record-breaking performance resulted in a 2% improvement in fuel efficiency over Q2 2019, avoiding approximately 29,000 tons of CO emissions. Our locomotive fuel conservation efforts drove approximately $7 million in cost savings for the quarter.

As a result of our best-ever fuel management practices and our Precision Scheduled Railroading operating model, we maintained our position as the most fuel-efficient Class I railroad in North America, consuming approximately 15% less fuel per GTM than the average of the Class 1 peers.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel Efficiency

(US gallons of locomotive fuel consumed per 1,000 gross ton miles)

Fuel Efficiency Graph
 Data obtained from publicly available financial reports.

But we are not resting on our laurels. CN was the first railroad in North America to set a climate science carbon intensity reduction target in support of keeping the global temperature increase below two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temperatures. We have set an ambitious target to reduce our greenhouse gas emission intensity (tons of CO equivalent per million tonne kilometres) by 29% by 2030, based on 2015 levels. We aim to achieve our target through our Fuel Management Excellence program, innovative technologies, increased use of renewable fuels and enhanced train handling and operating practices.

Our initiatives include working with train crews and rail traffic controllers on best practices for fuel conservation – from locomotive shutdowns in our yards to streamlined train handling. CN’s in-house-built Horsepower Tonnage Analyzer leverages big data analytics to instruct crews on how to optimize a locomotive’s horsepower-to-tonnage ratio. In addition, locomotive engineers receive real-time information on train characteristics, performance, and terrain through an Energy Management System, which helps to compute the most efficient train settings and regulate speed.

Fuel-efficient technologies are helping us further reduce our carbon footprint. In the past two years, CN has purchased 260 new high-efficiency locomotives equipped with GE Transportation’s GoLINC™ platform, data telemetry systems, and Distributed Power LOCOTROL eXpanded Architecture. These high-tech systems are helping us maximize locomotive operating effectiveness and efficiency.

As a result of these and other initiatives, we expect to see even greater efficiency gains in the future. Our commitment is to continue to explore opportunities to further reduce our carbon footprint for the benefit of all.