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?

Transport and logistics routes to net zero

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) believes that net zero can be achieved by 2050 through a range of measures recommended to government and others in its latest report, Routes to Net-Zero 2050: 2020 Year End Summary. The report includes 21 recommendations for action covering a...

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Energy, transport and sustainability will be key themes in 2021

Energy, transport and sustainability are three key themes to watch in 2021, according to the latest predictions from BloombergNEF (BNEF).*The market analyst expects to see $0.5tn of investment in 2021, but with some stock market bumps.Incorporating investment in renewable energy capacity, plus spend...

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Transport Fuels Technology update Service: Correlated papers on Transport fuels today ... and tomorrow: Year 2020

What the literature tells us during year 2020Since publishing Transport Fuels Technology* in year 2000, Eric Goodger has continued to update by detecting and abstracting items of relevant news across the scientific/engineering literature.   These abstracts are included on a continuing basi...

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TPI releases new transport report

The Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) has published its latest Transport report, covering the ‘carbon performance’ and ‘management quality’ of 62 companies in the automobile, airline and international shipping sectors. Direct emissions from the transport sector make up almost 25% of energy re...

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Energy Insight: UK road transport trends (DSS19, DSS18a, DSS23a)

This Energy Insight explores the following transport trends: • Motor vehicles licensed in Great Britain (DSS19)• Number of petrol stations in the UK (DSS18a)• UK road transport energy consumption (DSS23a)Transport (not including international aviation and shipping) was the single most polluting...

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Events and training

EI LIVE | Delivering Safety Culture Change using the Hearts and Minds Toolkit - May 2021

This 6-day interactive training course and certificate will teach delegates the fundamentals of improving safety culture using the award-winning Hearts and Minds toolkit.  It will teach the fundamentals of safety culture change, focusing on the various stages of a culture change programme, from...

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EI LIVE | Hard realities of a low carbon energy system

virtual Expert Workshop in association with the UK Committee of the World Petroleum Council25 May 2021, 1-2.30pm UK time Please note that bookings close on 24 May 2021, 17:00 BSTSponsored by:     

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Oil and Gas Industry Fundamentals - Awareness - September 2021

This 2-day training course provides delegates with an overview of principal activities in the international upstream, midstream and downstream petroleum industry.

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Delivering Safety Culture Change using the Hearts and Minds Toolkit - October 2021

This 3-day interactive training course and certificate will teach delegates the fundamentals of improving safety culture using the award-winning Hearts and Minds toolkit.  It will teach the fundamentals of safety culture change, focusing on the various stages of a culture change programme, from...

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Supply and Distribution Economics

This 4-day training course is designed for those who are or will be operating in the Supply & Distribution functions and will provide the background knowledge to allow them to make the right decisions on how to supply the network at the right cost. 

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Technical guidance publications

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 focus on the use of either a refuelling vehicle with the necessary equipment controls or a purpose-built vehicle for defuelling) or, in certain cases, a...

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EI Research Report: Determination of recalibration intervals for fiscal metering measurements (HM 1803)

This report provides an overview of the four currently identified methodologies for determining calibration intervals:− Calendar-based− Condition-based− Performance-based− Risk-basedFor each method, the procedure for implementing the methodology is described, the advantages a...

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Model Code of Safe Practice Part 9: Liquefied petroleum gas - large bulk storage

This technical publication provides good practice guidance on the layout, design, operation and integrity management for bulk LPG storage installations storing volumes of LPG that are typically subject to Seveso III Directive, like those encountered at fixed installations atmanufacturing facilities ...

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HM 79. Shore tank handbook. Tank design and ancilliary equipment relating to measurement and sampling of hydrocarbon liquids in shore tanks

This document identifies the standards and considers alternative designs and equipment used in onshore storage tanks for petroleum liquids, specifically concerning satisfying measurement and sampling requirements. Other issues such as foundation stability, mechanical design, coating and corrosion pr...

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Guidance on managing obsolescence and upgrading industrial automation and control systems (IACS)

This publication provides information and guidance on the factors that should be considered in the successful management of obsolescence of an IACS, by providing a practical approach and suggested courses of action. Each and every IACS is different as a result of its unique use, and varies depending...

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