Transport final energy consumption by mode
Between 1990 and 2007, annual transport energy consumption in the EU-27 showed continual growth. However, this trend reversed in 2008 as the effects of the economic recession brought about three years of negative growth. Between 2007 and 2009, total energy demand in the transport sector declined by 4.2%. The most recent published data for 2010 indicates a bottoming out of this recent decline with a drop in energy demand between 2009 and 2010 of just 0.3%. Preliminary estimates for 2011 hint on a return to growth in transport energy demand with a minor increase of 0.1% over 2011.
Outside the EU‑27, over the last decade Switzerland's growth in road transport energy use has been below the EU‑27 average, while its rail energy use has increased compared to an average reduction across the EU‑27. By contrast, Norway and particularly Turkey have seen road transport energy use grow faster than the EU‑27 while Turkey's rail energy use has fallen substantially more than in EU‑27 Member States.
The shipping sector saw the greatest decline in energy consumption during the recession; bunkers dropped by 10 % in 2009 compared to 2007, reflecting weak consumer demand. However, this was also the first transport sector to see a return to growth; over 1% between 2009 and 2010. Combined energy use for aviation, rail and shipping has reduced by 5.2 % between 2007 and 2011. The greatest reduction was for domestic navigation (10.2 %), followed by aviation (5.7 %) and rail (5.3 %). Road transport represents the largest energy consumer, accounting for 72 % of total demand in 2011. It has also been the least affected by the economic downturn, falling by only 3.9 % between 2007 and 2011.
Is the total energy consumption from transport growing?
Transport energy consumption (EEA-32 excluding Iceland and Liechtenstein)
Note: Bar chart showing final energy consumption broken down by different fuel types. Orange line shows total energy consumption for oil derived fuels, dotted red line shows transport target on oil consumption that applies to EU27 (Transport White Paper, 2011).
- Energy statistic - oil (Eurostat) provided by Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)
Final energy consumption by transport modes between 1990-2010 in EU27 (Mega tonnes of oil equivalent)
Note: The total energy consumption in transport in Mtoe from 1990 onwards. Transport modes included are bunkers (sea), air transport (domestic and international), inland navigation, rail transport and road transport (split by passenger and freight). The most recent year is an extrapolation based on monthly fuel deliveries.
- Energy statistic - oil (Eurostat) provided by Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)
Energy consumption from transport has grown by over 30% since 1990. Energy efficiency has improved during this period – for example, the energy efficiency of the average new passenger car in Europe improved by over 20% in the past decade (EEA, 2012). However the effects of these efficiency improvements have been offset by an overall increase in transport demand. The effects of the recent economic recession brought about a marked decrease in overall energy consumption through 2008 to 2010. Records show that total transport energy consumption was nearly 4.5 % lower in 2010 compared to an overall peak in 2007. However, this slump is likely to be temporary, with estimates for 2011 seeing a 0.1% increase over 2010. Longer term projections for the region foresee that economic recovery will sustain renewed growth in transport energy consumption to at least 2020 (albeit at a lesser rate than in the previous decade, as policies designed to reduce transport energy use begin to take effect). Though this period, transport demand is expected to grow faster than energy consumption, in other words the energy intensity of transport will decrease.
The EEA 32 countries consumed approximately 441 Mtoe providing energy for transport in 2010. The vast majority, 82.7 %, is consumed by the original 15 Member States, with 10.7 % consumed by the new 12 Member States and the remaining 6.6% by other EEA countries.
The 12 new EU Member States have collectively increased consumption by 68 % since 1990; despite many of these new member states initially recording a decline in the early nineties, reflecting the economic difficulties experienced in the transition to market economies. Only three Member States consumed less energy in 2010 compared to 1990: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Three have more than doubled their energy consumption over the same period: the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia. Malta has recorded a five-fold increase in its transport energy consumption almost solely through increases in shipping activity (bunker fuels).
Until the first effects of the recession appeared in 2008, transport energy consumption in the 15 original EU Member States had shown steady growth since 1990. In 2010, all of the EU-15 Member States experienced a continuation of the reduction in transport energy consumption compared to the peak in 2007. However, the decline between 2009 and 2010 was much less pronounced, signalling a bottoming out of the period of contraction. Italy, Spain and the UK have experienced the greatest absolute decrease through this period, primarily due to reductions in road transport. However, total energy consumption in the EU15 is still nearly 30% higher than it was in 1990.
Road transport energy consumption over the period has increased by 80 % in the new EU12 Member States and by 22 % in the original EU-15. These figures suggest that modes which require longer-term planning and more dedicated infrastructure than road transport are less popular for supporting fast economic development. The lack of goods transported by sea in all EU-12 Member States (with the exception of Malta) may also be a result of their geographical location, with fewer major ports currently in the EU-12 than in the EU-15.
Aviation shows the strongest growth of all modes, increasing by 79 % since 1990. However, the sector also registered the largest fall in energy consumption (and the largest reduction in passenger demand) through the recession, showing a 7 % reduction compared to the previous year.
The low share of rail is partly due to a relatively small modal share, but also because in most situations rail transport is less energy-intensive than the main competitors. Of all the modes, only rail has lower energy consumption in 2010 compared to 1990. This reduction has been less pronounced in some countries, in part attributed to movements of national and international freight which are strongly linked with geographical location of countries. Countries registering the highest share of international transport are located in key corridors within the European market. In the Baltic States of Latvia and Estonia, situated at the border between Europe and Russia, international transport accounted for 91 % and 89 % respectively of the total transport in 2010. For those in the periphery such as the UK and Turkey, the share is much lower, 2 % and 9 % respectively (Eurostat 2012)
The energy consumption from inland water transport for the whole of the EU has remained fairly constant during the 1990s and 2000s. The sector experienced a resurgence in activity up until the recent recession, most notably in the EU-15, with energy consumption in 2007 up 12 % on the 1990 level in the EEA member countries.
Across the EEA member countries energy consumption in maritime transport (i.e. ‘bunkers’) has grown by 38 % since 1990, primarily used in the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.
Besides the overall trend, there are considerable variations between countries, although road transport in nearly all cases dominates energy consumption. Differences are likely due to geographical and topographical constraints such as settlement and transport patterns, as well as economic development.
Additional policies that reduce the demand for transport, encourage modal shift towards more environmentally-friendly modes, improve transport management and enhance vehicles’ energy efficiency are required in order to meet targets set by the Kyoto protocol and the 2020 climate and energy package. 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 (European Commission, 2009).
 Excluding Liechtenstein and Iceland – no data available.
Indicator specification and metadata
The total energy consumption in transport in Petajoule (PJ) from 1990 onwards. Transport modes included are bunkers (sea), air transport (domestic and international), inland navigation, rail transport and road transport.
Petajoule (1 PJ = 1015 J)
Policy context and targets
Reduction in fuel consumption by the transport sector and/or of its impacts may be achieved through three primary means:
- Avoid: reducing transport demand by limiting the number and length of trips;
- Shift: shift to more fuel efficient transport modes;
- Improve: increase the energy efficiency of vehicles and their energy sources; includes fuel switching – i.e. changing to renewable or low carbon fuels such as sustainable biofuels or using renewable generation technologies for electric/fuel cell vehicles.
Although climate policy and the Kyoto protocol are important drivers in reducing fossil fuel consumption (and air quality policy to a lesser extent), this indicator is primarily concerned with energy policy. Other related issues are addressed in TERM02 (Transport Emissions of Greenhouse Gases), TERM03 (Transport Emissions of Air Pollutants) and TERM 31 (Uptake of Cleaner and Alternative Fuels).
EU leaders have agreed to decide on the proposed 2030 policy framework for climate and energy by October 2014. If accepted, the 2030 framework will set targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, increasing the share of renewable energy to at least 27%, and continuing improvements in energy efficiency (EC, 2014a). No target has been set yet for energy efficiency, but this will be considered further later in 2014 in a review of the Energy Efficiency Directive.
In April 2014, the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement with the European Council on a Directive on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure, which included a requirement to install a minimum number of charging points for electric vehicles, and improve alternative fuel infrastructure (EC, 2014b).
In April 2010, the European Commission presented a strategy which builds upon the 2007 Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (COM(2006)545) increase uptake of clean and energy efficient vehicles. The European strategy on clean and energy efficient vehicles (COM(2010) 186) aims to reduce CO2 emissions from road transport by promoting energy efficient vehicles based on conventional internal combustion engines as well as facilitating the deployment of breakthrough technologies in ultra-low carbon vehicles. Guidelines on financial incentives for clean and energy efficient vehicles were published in 2013, aiming to enhance their effecitiveness and improve coordination of measures across the EU, and identify best practices (EC, 2013).
Recent agreements between Member States and the European Parliament have called for the emissions testing procedures to be updated, as soon as possible, to bring in the new worldwide harmonised light duty testing procedure (WLTP). This is expected to help address the current problem of a gap between the official homologated fuel consumption figures and those typically achieved under real-world driving conditions. According to the International Council of Clean Transportation (ICCT) the average discrepancy between type-approval and on-road CO2 emissions has increased considerably over the last decade, being below 10% in 2001 but increasing to around 25% by 2011 (ICCT, 2013).
The European Commission is also working towards the development of proposals for whole vehicle test cycles for Heavy Duty Vehicles that would facilitate potential future regulation of efficiency and/or tailpipe emissions from these vehicles.
Historical policy context
The Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (EC, 2006) was produced in 2006 for 2007-2012, based on the Green Paper on Energy Efficiency published in 2005 (EC, 2005) outlining a number of options for transport in terms of increasing energy efficiency. The Action Plan proposed a number of measures for transport including, a number of which have come to fruition:
- Reaffirming the Commission's commitment to addressing the issue of fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions from cars by proposing legislation (if necessary) to ensure that the 120g CO2/km target is achieved by 2012 (set in the Regulation No.443/2009).
- Strengthening EU-wide real time traffic and travel information systems and traffic management.
- Proposing legislation to harmonise requirements to promote fuel efficiency in driver education curricula and support projects.
- Promoting energy efficiency in the aviation sector through the on-going development of SESAR (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research project). In March 2009 the European Parliament approved the second 'Single European Sky' (SES II) package consisting of two regulations aimed at improving the performance of the European aviation system in key areas such as safety, capacity, flight, cost efficiency and environmental sustainability, by coordinating and supervising member states' air traffic control systems and implementing common rules and performance targets.
- Including the (intra EU) aviation sector in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (adopted Directive 2009/29/EC). The changes to the scheme also include a start day of emissions trading between all EU countries by 2012.
- Exploiting the potential for optimising hull cleaning of ships, realising the benefits of shore-side electricity for harboured ships by proposing legislation and promoting short sea shipping and the motorways of the sea.
A number of measures aimed at implementing some of the above actions on climate change and energy use have subsequently been adopted:
- Decision No. 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the effort of Member States to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Community’s greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments up to 2030.
- Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC (Renewable Energy Directive – RED).
- Directive 2009/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community
- Directive 2009/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 98/70/EC as regards the specification of petrol, diesel and gas-oil and introducing a mechanism to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and amending Council Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the specification of fuel used by inland waterway vessels and repealing Directive 93/12/EEC (Fuel Quality Directive - FQD);
- Regulation (EU) No 510/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2011 setting emission performance standards for new light commercial vehicles as part of the Union’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles. This regulation states that the average level of CO2 emissions from this vehicle class must not exceed 175 gCO2 per kilometre as from 2017 (the requirement will be introduced gradually as from 2014). From 2020, the level is not to exceed 147 grams of CO2 per kilometre (subject to confirmation of the feasibility of such a target).
- Regulation EC/661/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning type-approval requirements for the general safety of motor vehicles, their trailers and systems, components and separate technical units intended therefor. The Regulation introduces a large number of new technical requirements for new vehicle including compulsory tyre pressure monitoring systems, maximum rolling resistance limit for tyres and compulsory fitment of gear shift indicators (GSI).
Other policies of note include:
- Directive 2009/33/EC: Clean and Energy-efficient road transport, which is concerned with the requirement for public bodies to take into account energy and environmental impacts of road transport vehicles they are purchasing and operating.
- Regulation (EU) No 510/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2011. The legislation applies to vehicles used to carry goods weighing up to 3.5t (vans and car-derived vans, known as "N1") and which weigh less than 2610kg when empty. The EU fleet average of 175 g/km will be phased in between 2014 and 2017. In 2014 an average of 70 % of each manufacturer's newly registered vans must comply with the limit value curve set by the legislation. This proportion will rise to 75 % in 2015, 80 % in 2016, and 100 % from 2017 onwards. From 2020, a target of 147g/km is specified, subject to confirmation in a review of the Regulation that will be completed by 2013.
The EU has set itself a target of reducing GHG emissions by 30% in the context of a global agreement and a 20% reduction unilaterally by 2020 (from 1990 levels). The EU’s Roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy in 2050 calls for a GHG reduction of 80% by 2050 as a global action to prevent climate change (Decision No 406/2009/EC).
If the 2030 policy framework, proposed in January 2014, is accepted later this year, these targets will be built upon, with additional targets of reducing GHG emissions by 40% by 2030, and increasing the renewable energy share by at least 27% by 2030. Improvements to energy efficiency are still encouraged (from the “20-20-20” target of increasing energy efficiency by 20% by 2020) but no new target has been proposed (EC, 2014a).
Two key documents published by the European Commission in 2011 outline possible strategies for the transport sector, compatible with the 2050 target. These are the ‘Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050’ (EC, 2011a) and the third decennial transport White Paper, ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system’ (EC, 2011b). Both documents also support delivery of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and of the Commissions resource-efficient Europe flagship. The Roadmap has subsequently received endorsement from the European Parliament, which has also called upon the Commission to set additional interim greenhouse gas emission reduction for 2030 and 2040, including concrete objectives for each sector. The 2050 Roadmap proposes a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 54-67% for transport (including international aviation but excluding maritime shipping). This level of reduction is also envisaged in the 2011 Transport White Paper strategy, plus an intermediate target of 20% reduction on 2008 GHG emissions by 2030. An additional objective to reduce CO2 emissions from maritime bunker fuels by at least 40 % (50 % if possible) on 2005 levels was also included.
Related policy documents
Decision on the effort of Member States to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Community's greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments up to 2030
Directive 2009/29/ec of the European parliament and of the Council amending directive 2003/87/ec so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the community.
COM (2008) 11
First assessment of national energy efficiency plans as required by Directive 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services – Moving towards together on energy efficiency
COM (2011) 112 - A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050
With its "Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050" the European Commission is looking beyond these 2020 objectives and setting out a plan to meet the long-term target of reducing domestic emissions by 80 to 95% by mid-century as agreed by European Heads of State and governments. It shows how the sectors responsible for Europe's emissions - power generation, industry, transport, buildings and construction, as well as agriculture - can make the transition to a low-carbon economy over the coming decades.
- COM(2005) 265 final. Green paper on energy efficiency or doing more with less. European Commission.
Action Plan for Energy Efficiency
Results of the review of the Community Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles.
COM(2010) 2020 final, Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth
European Commission, 2010. Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. COM(2010) 2020 final.
A resource-efficient Europe – Flagship initiative under the Europe 2020 Strategy
COM(2011) 144 Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system
PREPARING THE EUROPEAN TRANSPORT AREA FOR THE FUTURE
Decision No 406/2009/EC (Effort Sharing Decision)
Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the effort of Member States to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Community’s greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments up to 2020
DIRECTIVE 2009/28/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC
DIRECTIVE 2009/30/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 98/70/EC as regards the specification of petrol, diesel and gas-oil and introducing a mechanism to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and amending Council Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the specification of fuel used by inland waterway vessels and repealing Directive 93/12/EEC
Guidelines on financial incentives for clean and energy efficient vehicles
Commission staff working document
REGULATION (EC) No 443/2009 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL 443/2009
Regulation (ec) no 443/2009 of the European parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the community's integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles.
REGULATION (EC) No 661/2009
REGULATION (EC) No 661/2009 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL concerning type-approval requirements for the general safety of motor vehicles, their trailers and systems, components and separate technical units intended therefor
REGULATION (EU) No 510/2011
REGULATION (EU) No 510/2011 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL setting emission performance standards for new light commercial vehicles as part of the Union's integrated approach to reduce CO 2 emissions from light-duty vehicles
Methodology for indicator calculation
Energy statistics for transport are collected from Member States and collated by Eurostat. To assess whether the total energy from consumption from transport is growing, time series data for energy consumed was obtained from Eurostat. Data for various fuels was downloaded for ‘bunkers’ (sea), air (domestic and international), inland navigation, road transport and rail transport. Data for bunkers covers the quantities of fuel delivered to sea going vessels of all countries. Data for inland and coastal water is not included in bunkers (sea). Data for air covers quantities of fuel consumed in national and international air traffic. Energy consumed by electric and diesel trains is included within the rail data.
Since Eurostat data is being used to process statistics, the Eurostat methodology is to be referred to for data collection and specification (see Eurostat, ITF and UNECE, 2009).
Methodology for gap filling
No gap-filling is applied for this indicator.
No methodology references available.
Data trends within the individual countries are difficult to ascertain as energy consumption data often shows unexpected volatility from year to year. Energy consumption is calculated based on fuel sales, and reported on through a common questionnaire.
Data sets uncertainty
National data varies significantly from country to country and depending on the fuel type and production/consumption sector. The most reliable data comes from the EU15 old Member States. However, data is lacking for oil pipelines for the majority of countries, making it less reliable. Occasionally, data used in older time-series may change due to revisions in the methodology used. Such changes have resulted in small alterations of a few percent.
For the EU-13 the data are generally much less reliable. Gaps are frequent, as are conspicuous jumps in consumption (e.g. doubling or more).
No uncertainty has been specified.
Energy statistics (Eurostat)
provided by Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)
Transport (Primary topic)
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
- TERM 001
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoCinzia Pastorello
EEA Management Plan2012 2.9.2 (note: EEA internal system)
Frequency of updates
- 10 Jan 2011 - Transport final energy consumption by mode
- 04 Oct 2010 - Transport final energy consumption by mode
- 21 Apr 2009 - Transport final energy consumption by mode
- 28 Sep 2006 - Energy Consumption
- 28 Sep 2005 - Energy consumption
- 28 Mar 2004 - Energy consumption
- 20 Feb 2004 - Energy consumption
- 01 Jun 2001 - Energy consumption
- 01 Jun 2001 - Transport energy consumption
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
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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