Multi-Modal Energy Analysis for Inter-City Freight Movement

Research output: NRELManagement


U.S. transportation of freight consumed the equivalent of 7.4 quadrillion Btu (quads) in 2018 and accounted for 26% of total U.S. transportation energy. According to the 2019 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO), freight energy is projected to grow to 7.8 quads and 30% of transportation energy by 2050 as economic productivity and efficiency in passenger travel increases [1]. Per ton-mile, trucking is the second most energy intensive mode for freight transportation behind aviation. Freight energy use may be reduced through application of emerging technologies and optimization of freight movement. However, new technologies and trends also present possible challenges to improving freight efficiency. Further, measuring the impact of these developments is complicated by the complex, multi-agent, multi-modal, and multi-dimensional nature of freight movement. While many freight performance metrics exist, several must be considered simultaneously to provide a holistic measure of freight energy mobility that can be compared across regions, time, or future scenarios.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

See the Vehicle Technologies Office Energy Efficient Mobility Systems 2019 Annual Progress Report at

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/MP-5400-78528


  • freight
  • mobility energy
  • truck electrification


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