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Energy efficiency and energy consumption in the transport sector

Indicator Specificationexpired Created 27 Jul 2010 Published 14 Sep 2010 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 06:59 PM
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This content has been archived on 06 Nov 2013, reason: Other
Indicator codes: ENER 023

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection

Energy efficiency and energy consumption are intrinsically linked. Increased energy efficiency can lead to significant reductions in energy consumption provided that measures are in place to discourage the occurrence of rebound effects. Reducing energy consumption in transport as a result of energy efficiency progress and other factors such as fuel prices, modal shift, etc, can lead to significant reductions in environmental pressures, such as greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

  • Energy efficiency progress (Figure 1) is measured from the ODEX indicator. This index aggregates the unit consumption trends for each transport mode in a single indicator for the whole sector.                         
  • The energy consumption variation of passenger transport in Figure 5 is broken down into 3 explanatory effects: activity effect (increase in traffic), modal shift effect (from private transport to public transport modes) and energy savings (change in specific consumption per unit of traffic). A positive “modal shift effect” means that the share of public passenger transport in passenger traffic is decreasing (shift from public transport to cars)  or the road in total freight traffic is increasing (shift from rail-water to road): this offsets energy savings.
  • CO2 emissions for total transport are split into 2 explanatory effects (Figure 7): an activity effect due to an increase in traffic of passengers and freight, CO2 savings due to the reduction in the specific emissions of vehicles per unit of traffic.


ODEX indicator: #

Energy consumption: Mtoe/year

CO2 emissions: Mt CO2

Policy context and targets

Context description

Regulation (ec) no 443/2009 of the European parliament and of the Council.
It sets emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the community’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles.

  • Climate action and renewable energy package (CARE Package)
  • Energy efficiency: delivering the 20% target  - COM(2008) 772 final
    European leaders committed themselves to reduce primary energy consumption by 20% compared to projections for 2020. Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way of reducing energy consumption while maintaining an equivalent level of economic activity. Improving energy efficiency also addresses the key energy challenges of climate change, energy security and competitiveness.
  • Action Plan for Energy Efficiency: Realising the Potential [COM(2006) 545]
    This Action Plan outlines a framework of policies and measures with a view to intensify the process of realising the over 20% estimated savings potential in EU annual primary energy consumption by 2020. The Plan lists a range of cost-effective measures, proposing priority actions to be initiated immediately, and others to be initiated gradually over the Plan's six-year period. Further action will subsequently be required to reach the full potential by 2020.
  • Commission Green Paper, 22 June 2005, "Energy Efficiency - or Doing More With Less" [COM(2005) 265 final
    It outlines the need to adopt specific measures to improve energy efficiency
  • Decision No 1639/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006 establishing a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007 to 2013)
    Energy and transport play a large part in climate change since they are the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions; this is why energy policy is particularly important in the European Union's sustainable development strategy. The EU is increasingly dependent on energy imported from Non-EU Member Countries, creating economic, social, political and other risks for the Union.
    The EU therefore wishes to reduce its dependence and improve its security of supply by promoting other energy sources and cutting demand for energy. Consequently, it is putting the accent, above all, on improving energy efficiency and promoting renewable energy sources, in particular though the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme (IEE).


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents


Methodology for indicator calculation

ODEX indicator is calculated at the level of 8 modes or vehicle types: cars, trucks, light vehicles, motorcycles, buses, total air transport, rail, and water transport. For cars, energy efficiency is measured by the specific consumption, expressed in litre/100km; for the transport of goods (trucks and light vehicles), the unit consumption per ton-km is used, as the main activity is to move goods; for other modes of transport various indicators of unit consumption are used, taking for each mode the most relevant indicator given the statistics available: toe/passenger for air, goe/pass-km for passenger rail, goe/ton-km for transport of goods by rail and water, toe per vehicle for motorcycles and buses.

The variation of the weighted index of the unit consumption by mode between t-1 and t is defined as follows:

 It -1/It = Sumi (ECi,t) * ( UCi,t/UCi,t-1)  
with : energy share EC i  (consumption of each mode i in total transport consumption);
unit consumption index UC i (ratio : consumption related to traffic or specific consumption in l/100 km for cars)
t refers the current year, t-1 to the previous year
The value at year t can be derived from the value at the previous year by reversing the calculation:
                   It /It -1= 1/( It -1/It)
ODEX is set at 100 for a reference year and successive values are then derived for each year t by the value of ODEX at year t-1 multiplied by It /It -1.     

Methodology for gap filling

  • Energy consumption by type of road vehicle (car, truck & light vehicle, bus) : calculated as a sum of data by country with a sample of 15 countries (of which 11 main EU-15 countries and 4 new member countries).
  • Specific consumption of cars in litre /100 km: extrapolated with Odyssee national data (15 countries available, of which the 11 main EU-15 countries plus Hungary, Poland and Slovenia). A weighted average specific consumption of cars for the countries for which we have data is calculated, using as a weighting factor the number of cars in each country, and the same value is assumed for the EU-27.
  • Stock of vehicles: as a sum (all data by countries available)


Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Data specifications

EEA data references

External data references

Data sources in latest figures


Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

Not all data is available for all countries. Odyssee database is updated twice a year  : the last version of the database is August 2009, with most data and indicators updated until 2007.

The reliability of total transport energy consumption and related CO2 emissions is reliable due to trustworthy statistics underlying it. Division of the energy consumption by vehicles (cars, trucks and light vehicles, bus...) is less accurate, because it is based on assumptions.

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Cinzia Pastorello


European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
ENER 023
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Energy Energy


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DPSIR: State
Typology: Efficiency indicator (Type C - Are we improving?)

Related content

Data references used

Data used

Relevant policy documents

Filed under:
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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