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?

North West Hydrogen Alliance calls on UK government to kickstart hydrogen transport revolution

The North West Hydrogen Alliance (NWHA) has called on the UK government to take urgent action to support the roll out of hydrogen vehicles once coronavirus restrictions are lifted, to capitalise on the ‘green gains’ many areas have experienced during lockdown.Coronavirus lockdown has seen many areas...

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Road and air transport sectors call for help as travel numbers dwindle

The EU’s passenger car market recorded a 55% drop in new vehicle registrations in March as the result of the pandemic, according to figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association – known as the ACEA. At the end of that month, the ACEA, along with other car industry lobby groups, wrot...

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UK transport decarbonisation – the challenges ahead

The UK government has published a document that it claims marks ‘the beginning of a conversation to develop the policies needed to decarbonise transport’ in the country. Entitled Decarbonising transport: Setting the challenge, the report sets out the challenge that needs to be met to reduce tra...

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New technologies to be tested under new UK transport regulatory review

The UK government has launched a consultation to make journeys easier, smarter and greener through new technology as part of its Future of transport regulatory review.The review will consider how we make small changes to our everyday travel decisions and whether we could choose to walk, cy...

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Electrification can cut emissions of transport, buildings and industry in Europe by 60% by 2050

Electrification of the transport, buildings and industrial sectors in Europe could slash greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 60% between 2020 and 2050, according to a new report published by BloombergNEF (BNEF).A revolution in the use of energy by these three sectors is possible over the next 30 years...

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Events and training

EI LIVE free webinar | Safety Culture Change with the Hearts & Minds Toolkit

A free EI Live webinar about delivering safety culture change using the Hearts & Minds toolkit.

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EI LIVE | Oil and Gas Industry Fundamentals - Awareness - September 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 | Energy Efficiency: The Road to Net Zero

Discover the latest approaches and strategies in energy efficiency that can help the UK reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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EL LIVE Free Webinar | Powering net zero

A free webinar, held ahead of the 2021 conference, to discuss the latest strategies needed to reach net zero.8 October 2020: 9:00 - 10:40 BST

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

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 GMT

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Technical guidance publications

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

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

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

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

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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Guidelines for the training of road tanker drivers at terminals

The purpose of the Guidelines for the training of road tanker drivers at terminals is to integrate and define the training and competency needs, as far as possible, thus presenting a consistent approach to road tanker drivers, and provide a standard methodology for managing their competency. The inc...

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