November 04, 2008

Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal

(This one's for you, Mom.)

Because of the high price of oil, shipping on the Erie Canal has begun again, according to an article in today's New York Times:
Though diminished in the late 1800s by competition from railroads, commercial shipping along the canal grew until the early 1950s, when interstate highways and the new St. Lawrence Seaway lured away most of the cargo and relegated the canal to a scenic backwater piloted by pleasure boats.

The canal still remains the most fuel-efficient way to ship goods between the East Coast and the upper Midwest. One gallon of diesel pulls one ton of cargo 59 miles by truck, 202 miles by train and 514 miles by canal barge, Ms. Mantello said. A single barge can carry 3,000 tons, enough to replace 100 trucks.

As the price of diesel climbed over $4 a gallon this summer — the national average is now about $3.31 a gallon — more shippers rediscovered the Erie Canal.

(Image from a childhood favorite, The Erie Canal, by Peter Spier)


  1. I can't exactly explain why, but this is *way cool*.

  2. I'm with the way cool comment. But there goes relaxing vacation by barge in update New York.