The US freight railway's fuel efficiency has gone up 104% since 1980, according to the Association of American Railroads.
The association announced freight railroads in 2009 averaged 480 ton-miles per gallon when moving a ton of freight.
Using 18% less fuel, railroads are expected to have produced 67% more ton-miles in 2009 than in 1980.
AAR president and CEO Edward R Hamberger said railroads are emitting fewer greenhouse gases and easing highway congestion.
"If just 10% of the long-haul freight moving on the highways was moved by rail, annual fuel savings would exceed one billion gallons," Hamberger said.
Railroads are expected to have spent billions of dollars in new, more fuel-efficient locomotives and on overhauling older units.