Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Journalism Professor: We Should Use More Trucks, Less Freight Trains -- In the Name of Energy Efficiency

Well, that's not actually what Steve Hallock, assistant professor of journalism at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, actually said in an NY Times op ed piece. What he said was, that passenger trains should be given more clear priority -- backed up by more regulation of the rail lines -- in the use of American rail lines. (As the husband of a wonderful woman who doesn't like flying or driving, I share his frustration.) But as we know from the post and links here, passenger use and freight use of rail lines seem to be reciprocal: more of one, less of the other.

If adopted, would this actually save energy? Flying people across the country certainly seems inefficient, energy wise, compared to diesel trains -- but then again individual trucks hauling coal along the highways at 60 mph seems inefficient compared to a half-mile long string of lignite chugging along the tracks at 30 mph.

Prediction: trucking industry lobbyists will jump at the chance to be greener than thou.

(Photo: Mayhem Photoblog)