Transport sector accounts for almost 30% of all energy consumption globally

Whether moving freight or passengers, transportation plays a major role in our society and economy. There are broadly four different modes of transport – air, road, rail and marine. Demand for transport has been rapidly increasing along with economic growth and is expected to continue to do so well into the future. Currently, the transport sector is one of the largest sources of both greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution because of its heavy reliance on energy-dense oil products, mainly petrol and diesel. Despite the strong pressures to move away from hydrocarbons due to the need to mitigate climate change and national plans to reduce reliance on fuel imports, there has so far been limited success in shifting towards a low carbon transport sector, especially in comparison to achievements in electricity. Shifting to lower carbon fuels in transport is a difficult task since neither batteries nor hydrogen can yet provide energy density levels high enough to substitute for oil products in some use cases. However, policy initiatives in the UK and worldwide are facilitating the shift to lower carbon means of transport, including financial incentives for buying low-emission cars, and various bans announced on future sales of petrol and diesel cars.

A transformation of the transport sector is underway, characterised mainly by three trends: electrification, shared mobility and automation. Widespread integration of electric vehicles to the energy system is expected to have significant systemic impacts, as it can allow the roll-out of smart charging at scale; this can provide additional flexibility for managing the electrical grid. Though this transformation is driven by technological developments and market forces, these changes present opportunities to achieve a more sustainable transportation sector. There is particular potential to reduce transport emissions through changes such as modal shift, behavioural change, vehicle efficiency improvements, the use of low carbon fuels, and new business models.

Learn more about transport by exploring records published on our Energy Matrix.

For the latest news and articles on the transport sector read Energy World.

Discover UK professionals' views on decarbonising transport by reading our annual Energy Barometer.

What's new?

TotalEnergies and Daimler Truck to develop European hydrogen transport system

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Wintershall Dea investigates conversion of North Sea natural gas pipelines for CO2 transport

European independent gas and oil company Wintershall Dea is working with the OTH Regensburg University of Applied Sciences to explore how existing nat...

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Vitol enters gas-for-transport market

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Events and training

EI LIVE | Delivering Safety Culture Change using the Hearts and Minds Toolkit - May 2022

This 6-day interactive training course and certificate will teach delegates the fundamentals of improving safety culture using the award-winning Heart...

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Delivering Safety Culture Change using the Hearts and Minds Toolkit - October 2022

This 3-day interactive training course and certificate will teach delegates the fundamentals of improving safety culture using the award-winning Heart...

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EI LIVE | Human Factors Foundation - October 2022

This 5-day virtual learning course delivers a comprehensive introduction into human factors for non-specialists. It provides a practical, engaging and...

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L2: Energy management and transport

About this course: This online course provides an overview of the transport sector in relation to energy consumption and carbon emissions. On this cou...

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NEBOSH International Technical Certificate in Oil and Gas Operational Safety

This NEBOSH International Technical Certificate in Oil & Gas Operational Safety training will provide students with an industry-recognised qualifi...

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Technical guidance publications

Technical workshop proceedings: Hydrogen safety cases – Challenges in hydrogen safety case development in UK/European industrial clusters

This document is free to download for registered users.The workshop reported herein was convened under the auspices of the EI Hy2004 Hydrogen Safety C...

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Guidance on petroleum hydrocarbon forensic chemistry for site investigation and remediation Volume 2

This publication provides a practical introductory guide to petroleum hydrocarbon forensic chemistry, including a summary of changes in fuel specifica...

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Guidance on the identification and assessment of contaminants of emerging concern in soil and groundwater at industrial sites

The aim of this guidance is to promote a risk-based and pragmatic approach to identification and management of CEC at industrial sites, which still co...

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SafetyOn Good practice guidelines: Planned decommissioning framework for onshore wind turbines

This publication is free to download for registered members of the site. Please log in to access.The final stage in the life cycle of a wind farm is d...

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EI 1545 Recommended practice for the defuelling of aircraft

EI 1545 provides guidance on the requirements, risks and precautions necessary to conduct the defuelling of an aircraft into a vehicle tank (with a fo...

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