Transportation industries will have to go on an “energy diet” to help end America’s addiction to oil, according to US Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. Mineta made the comments in Omaha, NE, where he commended Union Pacific railroad for its Fuel Masters fuel-reduction program.
Union Pacific Railroad uses an estimated 3.25 million gallons of diesel fuel every day and has seen its fuel costs grow by hundreds of millions of dollars over the past several years. To control these costs the railroad is expanding Fuel Masters, a conservation program that rewards the fuel-saving efforts of locomotive engineers.
Engineers are provided a fuel conservation help sheet that offers tips for improving fuel consumption, and in several locations, engineers work on simulators that offer instruction on fuel saving techniques. In addition, engineers are counseled on fuel saving methods by engineer peer trainers who are the top performers in their pool.
The Fuel Masters program compares locomotive engineers’ fuel consumption performance against fellow engineers in the same territory. A two-month snapshot of each engineer’s fuel consumption performance is used to calculate individual average consumption rates. Each month, engineers in the top 15 to 20 percent of each territory where Union Pacific operates are awarded fuel cards to reduce their own fuel costs.
In 2005, the Fuel Masters program saved more than 16 million gallons of diesel—which equated to $30 million for Union Pacific Railroad.
What is most impressive about the UP Fuel Masters program is that the company and its employees have found a way to cut fuel consumption and save money. It is in their best interest to do this as much as it is in our national interest to be innovative in our energy conservation.
America is the most mobile society on earth, and that’s not going to change. What is going to change is that our cars, trains, airplanes and ships must use significantly less oil, if they use oil at all, to move people and products in the future.
Quitting oil does not mean that America quits moving.—DOT Secretary Norman Mineta