Living in New York State's Capital Region for a few years reminded me that the Erie Canal was still there, still open for business, and still fascinating to watch as the locks open and close.
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. On one trip in mid-October, the Margot motored down the canal at about seven knots, pushing a barge loaded with a giant green crane. The machine was being transported from Huger, S.C., to the Pinney Dock, operated by the Kinder Morgan Company in Ashtabula, Ohio.