Assessment made on 01 Mar 2004
ClassificationTransport (Primary theme)
DPSIR: Driving force
- TERM 001
Policy issue: Reduce consumption of fossil energy by transport
Transport energy consumption increased by 23 % between 1990 and 2001. It is one of the major energy-consuming sectors, being responsible for about 32 % of total energy consumption in 2001. Aviation is the sector's fastest growing energy consumer and road transport is the biggest, consuming around 72 % of transport energy consumption. The continued growth in energy consumption threatens compliance with the Kyoto targets.
Transport energy consumption in EEA-30 area has grown by about 2 % per year during the 1990-2001 period, and equalled 404 Mtoe (million tonnes oil equivalents) in 2001 (some 35 % of all energy use). There have been improvements in energy efficiency, such as for passenger cars, where new vehicles have increased in energy efficiency by 1.5 % per year since 1995, but they have fallen far short of offsetting the growth in transport demand. Moreover, the continuing shift of transport demand towards the more energy intensive road and air modes have also contributed to the increase.
All in all, the growth in energy consumption in the transport sector is projected to continue at on average 1 % a year in the EU-25 from 2000-2030. However, transport demand is projected to grow faster. The energy intensity of transport is thus expected to decrease (European Commission, 2003).
While the growth figures for the regions listed in figure 1b are roughly equal, it covers over some heterogeneity. While in the 15 old Member States the energy consumption has been steadily growing since 1990, in many of the ten new members there has been an absolute decline during some years. Countries like Lithuania and Estonia have lower energy consumption today than in 1990, but it has nevertheless grown or remained stable since about 1992. Indeed, many of the new Member States saw a decline in the early nineties reflecting the economic difficulties experienced in the transition to market economies. However, since the middle of the nineties, the 10 new countries show patterns similar to the old EU-15.
Additional policies that reduce the (need for) demand for travel and energy consumption (energy efficiency improvements, improved spatial planning and logistics) are needed to comply with the Kyoto protocol. However, it must be kept in mind that policies that increase the efficiency of the transport system reduce the costs of transport movements and hence cause increased demand,via the so-called rebound effect. This counterbalances part of the improvements.
Fair transport charging is also an effective policy to reduce the negative effects (e.g. fuel consumption) of transport and generate optimal transport demand for the society as a whole.
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This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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