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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?

EIA projects air transport energy consumption to increase through 2050

6-11-2019
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) global demand for jet fuel will continue increasing through 2050, with consumption growing at a faster rate in countries that are not members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It expects jet fuel cons...

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Natural gas prospects for road transport

1-11-2019
What are the prospects for LNG, CNG and biomethane as fuel for the European transport sector? Chris Le Fevre FEI of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES) examines the opportunities for gas-powered vehicles.

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Can hydrogen fuel cells decarbonise freight transport?

1-11-2019
Hydrogen fuel cells show significant promise in sectors that might prove difficult to electrify with traditional batteries. Jennifer Johnson looks at whether technological ambition is matched by real progress in shipping and road freight.

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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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Events and training

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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Middle East Sustainability Forum

10-12-2019
This is part of Middle East HSE and Sustainability Week – for the HSE Forum please click here.

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UK MoD Aviation Fuels Committee Meeting

17-03-2020
Receive essential guidance and updates on aviation fuel specifications, including those for aviation turbine fuel, Def Stan 91-091 and aviation gasoline, Def Stan 91-090.

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Oil and Gas Industry Fundamentals - Awareness - Middle East - April 2020

8-04-2020
This 2-day training course provides delegates with an overview of principal activities inthe international upstream, midstream and downstream petroleum industry.

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Delivering Safety Culture Change using the Hearts and Minds Toolkit - Middle East - April 2020

13-04-2020
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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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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G+ Safe by design Workshop report: Hydraulic torqueing and tensioning systems

2019
This publication is available to download for free.This G+ Safe by Design workshop examined hydraulic torqueing and tensioning on the main flange connections and the associated large fasteners and tooling. The workshop was held in London on 5 March 2019 and explored hydraulic torqueing and tens...

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Petroleum road tanker design and construction

2019
This publication provides recommendations for the design and construction of road tankers intended for the conveyance of the main petroleum fuels: petrol; kerosene; diesel, and gas oil. It is complementary to EI Model code of safe practice Part 2: Design, construction and operation of petroleum dist...

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A model syllabus for the training of technicians involved in the examination, testing, maintenance and repair of petroleum road tankers

2019
The third edition of the syllabus is essential reading for all those involved in road tanker fleet operations, maintenance and repair workshops, and those with responsibility for the training of road tanker technicians.It has been developed to provide companies that undertake the maintenance of petr...

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G+ Integrated Offshore Emergency Response (G+ IOER) Good practice guidelines for offshore renewable energy developments

2019
This publication is available to download for free.This document has been produced to share good practice within the offshore renewable energy industry. It aims to provide a structure for accountable organisations to identify offshore renewable risks and the contingency measures that are required to...

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