Rail Travel Pollutes as Much as Flying: Study

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2009 5:04 PM CDT
Rail Travel Pollutes as Much as Flying: Study
An Amtrak train in New Orleans.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Train riders might not actually have that much to lord over their jet-setting rivals as far as pollution goes, Scientific American reports. A new study shows that although planes emit three times more greenhouse gasses per passenger per mile than trains, the industrial emissions necessary to rail infrastructure makes the environmental damage equal.

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On the East Coast, where the majority of electricity comes from coal, trains are a worse bet than planes if you’re into saving the environment. The study should not invite a crusade against rail travel, the lead author said, but consideration. “We’ve done a lot by going at the tailpipe of the car,” he said. “That’s good thing, but we should start looking beyond the tailpipe.” (Read more transportation stories.)

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