Assessment made on 01 Sep 2006
ClassificationTransport (Primary theme)
DPSIR: Driving force
- TERM 001
Policy issue: Reduce consumption of fossil energy by transport
Transport energy consumption increased by 29 % between 1991 and 2004. It is one of the major energy consuming sectors, being responsible for about 34% of total energy consumption (all sectors) in 2004. Aviation is the fastest growing energy consumer, and road transport is the largest, consuming around 73% 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 2.3 % per year during the 1991 - 2004 period, and equalled 428 Mtoe (million tonnes oil equivalents) in 2004 (34 % of all energy use).
As for growth in energy consumption differentiated to region, all regions show an increase in growth for the 1991-2004 period compared to the 1990-2003 period. For the EU-15, EU-25 and EEA-30 the increase in growth varies between 1 and 3 %. For the 10 new member states the increase is far more significant, being 10%. This might be explained by a stronger economic growth in the 10 member states, increasing transport demand.
There have been improvements in energy efficiency, such as for passenger cars, where new vehicles have increased 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 an average 1 % a year in the EU-25 from 2000-2030 if no further policy measures are taken.5 However, transport demand is projected to grow faster. The energy intensity of transport is thus expected to decrease (European Commission, 2003a).
While the growth figures for the regions listed in figure 1b are roughly equal, it covers some heterogeneity. While in the EU-15 the transport energy consumption has been steadily growing since 1990 (despite collapse of economy), in many of the ten new members there has been an absolute decline during some years. Countries like Lithuania and Estonia have lower transport 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, this effect being enlarged by the general economic depression at that time. However, since the middle of the nineties, the 10 new countries have showed strong growth of more than 3 % per year.
Additional policies that reduce the (need for) demand for transport, foster modal shift, improve transport management and enhance vehicle's energy efficiency are needed to comply with the Kyoto protocol. Policies that focus only on the efficiency of vehicles will not be sufficient to overcome the dependency on road transport, as they may reduce the cost of transport movements ,hence causing increased demand, via the so-called rebound effect.
Fair transport charging is also an effective policy to reduce the negative effects (e.g. fuel consumption) of transport and improve overall transport efficiency of 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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