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?

‘Greenprint’ to decarbonise all modes of UK's domestic transport

1-09-2021
Published in July, the government’s Transport decarbonisation plan includes at least one new and specific intention – to phase out the sale of new die...

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Energy Insight: UK road transport trends

31-08-2021
This Energy Insight explores the following transport trends: • Motor vehicles licensed in Great Britain • Number of petrol stations in the U...

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ExxonMobil affiliate to produce renewable diesel to help reduce transport emissions in Canada

25-08-2021
ExxonMobil has announced that its majority-owned affiliate, Imperial Oil, is moving forward with plans to produce renewable diesel at a new complex at...

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New R&D initiative to reduce transport sector CO2 footprint

29-07-2021
Eni and BASF have signed a strategic agreement on a joint R&D initiative to reduce the CO2 footprint of the transportation sector.The compani...

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Collaboration to accelerate electrification of transport in the UK

29-07-2021
Seven major British companies, including the operators of some of the largest commercial vehicle fleets in the country – BP, BT, Direct Line Group, Ro...

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Events and training

EI LIVE | Human Factors Foundation - October 2021

18-10-2021
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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Oil and Gas Industry Fundamentals 4-day training - November 2021

2-11-2021
This 4-day course is a leading course presented by an industry expert and practitioner. Delegates will cover the key sectors of the oil and gas indust...

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EI LIVE | Reservoir Microbiology Forum (RMF) 2021

10-11-2021
The RMF is an excellent multi-disciplinary platform that brings together oil producers, scientists, technologists, engineers, academics and researcher...

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UK MoD Aviation Fuels Committee Meeting

15-03-2022
Receive essential guidance and updates on aviation fuel specifications.Please note that bookings close on 14 March 2022, 17:00 GMT

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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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Technical guidance publications

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

2021
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

2021
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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EI 1545 Recommended practice for the defuelling of aircraft

2021
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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EI Research Report: Determination of recalibration intervals for fiscal metering measurements (HM 1803)

2021
This report provides an overview of the four currently identified methodologies for determining calibration intervals:− Calendar-based− Co...

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HM 32. Guide to hydrocarbon management at petroleum product marketing and distribution terminals

2021
The control of oil loss, both real and apparent, is a critical objective in the management of petroleum product terminals. This document provides advi...

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