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?

World’s first ‘greenprint’ to decarbonise all modes of domestic transport

The government’s new and all-encompassing Transport decarbonisation plan includes at least one new and specific intention – to phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 2040, subject to consultation.  Combined with the existing 2035 phase out date for polluting ...

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Energy Insight: Transport fuels technology -update service

Since publishing Transport Fuels Technology in year 2000, Dr Eric Goodger CEng FEI has continued to update by detecting and abstracting items of relevant news across the scientific/engineering literature. These abstracts are included on a continuing basis on the website of the Energy Institute.Thes...

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Raft of funding for next generation transport initiatives, Petroleum Review, April 2021, p 7

In UK, the government is providing £54 mn for the development of electric trucks plus hydrogen-powered buses and shipping, together with a ‘Green Fuel, Green’ Skies’ competition to process household rubbish, waste wood and excess electricity to SAF as a step towards decarbonisation.

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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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Events and training

A Net Zero Showcase: Combating the climate crisis in the South West & South Wales region

Join the South Western and South Wales branch for their first net zero virtual conference.

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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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Human Factors Foundation - October 2021

This 5-day course delivers a comprehensive introduction into human factors for non-specialists. It provides a practical, engaging and interactive background to key topic areas, as well as to how human and organisational factors can be applied within the workplace. 

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Technical guidance publications

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 specification and additives over time, the differences between petrogenic and non-petrogenic hydrocarbons, the effects of environmental processes such as weath...

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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 complies with legal requirements dependent on the country or region where the site is located. The guidance provides advice tothe reader at all stages i...

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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 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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Proceedings of an EI aviation fuel filtration seminar held 24 March 2021

This publication is free to download for registered usersPrepared by the Energy Institute’s Aviation Committee, this publication collates material that was presented at an EI webinar held on 24 March 2021 on aviation fuel filtration systems used for aircraft refuelling.The intention of these p...

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