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?

Driving down emissions for low carbon public transport

14-10-2020
In the UK, road transport is the only sector where emissions have continued to grow, increasing by 6% to ~118 MtCO2e by 2017, the equivalent of 21% of the UK’s total GHG emissions (ONS, 2019). Car use remains one of the most popular methods of travel with 31.5 million licensed vehicles, contributing...

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UK embraces hydrogen-fuelled future as transport hub and train announced

30-09-2020
The first-ever hydrogen-powered train has run on the UK mainline. The trials of the train, known as HydroFLEX,  follow almost 2 years’ development work and more than £1 million  investment by both Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham. Unlike diesel trains, hydrogen-powered tra...

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New UK trade body for sustainable renewable transport fuels

25-08-2020
A total of 12 companies comprising the UK’s producers of liquid renewable fuels and the majority of the green gas used in UK transport have formed the Renewable Transport Fuel Association (RTFA) which aims to be the ‘go to’ voice for UK renewable transport fuel producers and suppliers.RTFA’s founder...

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Transport emissions and R&D projects win UK government funding

25-08-2020
The government is to support a series of projects aimed at making progress towards a net zero future, including a highly ambitious initiative to develop zero emission air transport. First, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that UK industry will receive around £350mn to cut down carbon emiss...

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Decarbonising urban mobility with land use and transport policies: The case of Auckland, New Zealand

16-06-2020
"...an in-depth analysis of various policies that aim to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of urban transport. Decarbonising transport lies at the core of efforts to mitigate climate change and has close links to urban sustainability and housing affordability. "Download available on OECD website

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Events and training

EI LIVE free webinar |The Future of Shipping -  “The Disruptive Technological Landscape”

3-11-2020
Continuing EI APAC’s well received series of webinars on the Future of Shipping which have previously featured  “Future Fuels and Infrastructure Readiness” and “Investment Readiness”, we are pleased to announce the third in our series focused on &ldq...

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EL LIVE Free Webinar | Renewables: Health, Safety and Sustainability

5-11-2020
A free webinar, held ahead of the 2021 conference, to discuss building renewables in a safe and sustainable way.5 November 2020: 14:00 - 15:15 GMTEI Knowledge Partner:Webinar sponsor:

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EI LIVE | Oil and Gas Industry Fundamentals - Awareness - November 2020

9-11-2020
This 4-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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EI LIVE | Delivering Safety Culture Change using the Hearts and Minds Toolkit - November 2020

16-11-2020
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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Technical guidance publications

Case study on reducing manual handling and ergonomics related incidents in the offshore wind industry

2020
This document provides support and practical examples to help reduce MH&E related incidents in the offshore wind industry. The requirement for support and guidelines to reduce MH incidents in the offshore wind industry originates from:Reporting that indicates that MH injuries are one of the larg...

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Battery storage guidance note 3: Design, construction and maintenance

2020
This publication is free to download. Please log in to see the download option.This publication captures learning and experience from battery storage construction projects, with special emphasis on ensuring the safety of such projects to people and environment.Based on industry interviews and availa...

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French translation - G+/DROPS Reliable securing booklet for offshore wind

2020
Free to download. For more information on the G+ visit www.gplusoffshorewind.comThis document is an adaptation of selected DROPS Reliable securing, Best practice recommendations for the securing of structure and equipment at the worksite content to provide guidance and functional reco...

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HM 93. A guide to manual sampling of hydrocarbon liquids

2020
Anyone involved in oil production, transportation, refining, storage or distribution will be aware of the importance of sampling and testing to ensure that crude oil and products meet the required specifications. This guide provides practical advice on sampling of hydrocarbon liquids across a wide r...

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EI Research report: Investigation into the minimum auto-ignition temperature of fuels in open-air conditions

2020
This study was conducted in order to evaluate the AITs of typical UK fuels in order to validate measurement expectations for these fuels, and thus to allow considerations on whether current EI guidelines needed revision.This report covers three phases of work carried out between August 2016 and June...

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