Analyzes the use of energy for transporting U.S. intercity freight and the effect of higher fuel price. Several original methods of estimating unit energy consumption are developed and applied to determine average values and trends. Water transport is found to consume an average 500 Btu per ton/mile; rail, 750; pipeline, 1,850; truck, 2,400; and air cargo, 63,000, or 45 times the average for all transport modes in 1968. Only a small shift to air freight, from the present less than 0.2 percent to 2 percent of all intercity ton/miles, would double the average unit energy consumption for all freight modes. If present trends continue, this increase will occur by the year 1996. Because of its high fuel consumption, however, air freight growth would tend to be inhibited by higher fuel prices, while surface transport would be little affected. Higher fuel prices may result from shortages, the cost of environmental constraints, new taxes, or other reasons.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.