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Transport sector accounts for 25% of all energy consumption in the world

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?

UK government unveils plan for full decarbonisation of transport sector

15-10-2019
The UK government has set out how it will go further and faster to tackle climate change, in response to recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). This comes four months after the UK became the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050.The government’s of...

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Can electricity fully decarbonise road transport?

1-09-2019
Vehicle transport should be a simple sector to decarbonise. New models of electric vehicles (EVs) are constantly being introduced, and charge points are appearing across major European cities. But is electrification a silver bullet solution? Jennifer Johnson looks at some alternative technologies.

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Energy Insight: Transport - fuel: UK road transport energy consumption (DSS23a)

9-08-2019
Total fuel use for road vehicles  remained relatively steady over the period 2011 to 2017. Vehicle users were encouraged to switch from petrol to diesel in order to reduce CO2 emissions and the decline in the use of petrol  has been matched by the increase in use of Derv.  Unfortunate...

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Energy Insight: Transport - fuel: number of petrol stations in the UK (DSS18a)

17-07-2019
The number of petrol stations in the UK reached its peak in 1967 with a total of 39,958 and has been steadily declining ever since despite an increase in the number of vehicles registered in the UK. By the end of 2018, the number of stations had dropped to approximately 21% of the 1967 total, leavin...

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Energy Insight: Transport: motor vehicles licensed in Great Britain (DSS19)

7-06-2019
Annual totals for motor vehicles licensed in Great Britain since 1903, by private, goods & public transport.The number of private and light goods vehicles licensed in Great Britan has steadily increased over the 116 years the UK official statistics below show.  The only decrease recorded wa...

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Events and training

Delivering Safety Culture Change using the Hearts and Minds Toolkit - November 2019

5-11-2019
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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Oil and gas industry fundamentals - Intensive - November 2019

12-11-2019
This intensive 3-day course is a leading course presented by an industry expert and practitioner. Delegates will cover the key sectors of the oil and gas industry from exploration through to fuel retailing. 

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Net-Zero: what are the solutions?

21-11-2019
This panel debate will ask some of the key leaders in UK energy what the solutions are for a net-zero economy and how we can get there.

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Energy Policy Debate: UK pathways to decarbonising heat

10-12-2019
In order to meet the UK’s net zero emissions target by 2050, every sector of the economy must be decarbonised. We have made strong progress in decarbonising power generation, thanks to improvements in efficiency, switching from coal to natural gas, and an increase in the share of renewabl...

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Oil and Gas Industry Fundamentals - Awareness - September 2020

10-09-2020
This 2-day awareness training course provides delegates with an overview of principal activities in the international upstream, midstream and downstream petroleum industry.

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Technical guidance publications

IP 618: Determination of cold filter blocking tendency

2020
This standard specifies a method for the determination of the cold filter blocking tendency (CFBT) and cold filterability of middle distillate fuel oils containing biodiesel from 0 % to 20 %, at temperatures between ambient and -5 °C where the end use demands an exceptional degree of cleanliness...

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EI/JIG Standard 1530 Quality assurance requirements for the manufacture, storage and distribution of aviation fuel to airports (A4)

2019
Jointly published by the EI and JIG (Joint Inspection Group).EI/JIG 1530 provides a Standard to assist all parties in the maintenance of aviation fuel quality, from its point of manufacture through to delivery to airports. The Standard includes industry-accepted mandatory provisions and good practic...

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EI/JIG Standard 1530 Quality assurance requirements for the manufacture, storage and distribution of aviation fuel to airports (A5)

2019
Jointly published by the EI and JIG (Joint Inspection Group).EI/JIG 1530 provides a Standard to assist all parties in the maintenance of aviation fuel quality, from its point of manufacture through to delivery to airports. The Standard includes industry-accepted mandatory provisions and good practic...

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EI 1538 Handling of fuel system icing inhibitor and aviation fuel containing fuel system icing inhibitor at airports

2019
This publication is available to download for free by registering/logging in to this site.This publication provides industry recommended practices for the handling of fuel system icing inhibitor (FSII), also referred to as anti-icing additive, covering its receipt, storage, delivery and injection in...

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Guidance on the presence and operation of portable self energised electrical/electronic devices in potentially explosive atmospheres (gas and dust)

2019
This guidance is jointly published by the Energy Institute (EI) and the Engineering Equipment and Materials Users Association (EEMUA).This publication provides a practical guide for managing the presence and use of portable self-energised electrical and electronic devices within potentially explosiv...

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