Norfolk Southern’s efforts to improve fuel efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions reflect our spirit of environmental stewardship as we move essential goods across the eastern U.S. By investing in technology and modernizing our locomotive fleet, we’ve improved fuel efficiency more than 25% since we began tracking use in 1987. Compared with 1987, we avoided more than 1.4 million metric tons of Greenhouse Gases emissions in 2019 alone – equivalent to removing more than 310,800 cars from the road for a year.
Rail is one of the greenest ways to ship freight. Norfolk Southern helps our customers avoid almost 15 million metric tons of carbon emissions every year compared with shipping by highway, equivalent to saving approximately 1.5 billion gallons of truck diesel.
We are not satisfied with just reducing our CO₂ output. We are also making the air we breathe cleaner through our Trees and Trains 10,000-acre reforestation project, capturing over 240,000 metric tons of CO₂ from the atmosphere. Our 6 million trees are now capturing over 50,000 metric tons of CO2 each year. This carbon mitigation program provides opportunities for our customers to offset their rail emissions to meet their environmental goals.
Norfolk Southern is committed to reducing and recycling waste materials from operations. We are also proud to be a part of Operation Clean Sweep, working with our customers to eliminate plastic pollution, with the aim of reaching zero loss of plastic resin to the environment. Beyond rail operations, engaging our employees in recycling efforts provides even more avenues to reduce our waste, from recycling lightbulbs to batteries.