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Transport final energy consumption by mode (TERM 001) - Assessment published Apr 2009

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Generic metadata


Transport Transport (Primary topic)

Energy Energy

DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • TERM 001

Key policy question: Is the total energy consumption from transport growing?

Key messages

Transport energy consumption in the EEA member countries increased by 33 % between 1990 and 2006 (from 336 to 446 of Mtoe). Road transport, consuming around 71 % of transport energy consumption (319 Mtoe in 2006), is the largest consumer. While the energy consumed by rail has remained fairly constant. Aviation is the fastest growing energy consumer, with an increase of 73 % between 1990 and 2006 (from 31.4 to 54.5 of Mtoe). The continued transport growth in energy consumption threatens compliance with the Kyoto targets.

TERM01 Transport final energy consumption by mode

Note: No data for Switzerland and Lichtenstein

Data source:


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Key assessment

Transport energy consumption in the EEA member countries increased by 33 % between 1990 and 2006 (from 336 to 446 million tonnes oil equivalents (Mtoe)). Transport energy consumption in EEA member countries has grown by 2 % per year during the 1990-2006 period. All regions have shown a growth in transport energy consumption for the period 1990 - 2006. EEA member countries witnessed an increase in growth of 2.1 % per yea (between 1990 and 2006). The largest growth is in the 12 new Member States at 2.6 % whereas the 15 old Member states saw an increase in growth of 2 %.

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 more energy intensive road and air modes have also contributed to the increase. The growth in energy consumption in the transport sector is projected to continue at an average of 1 % a year in the EU-25 from 2000-2030 if no further policy measures are taken. However, transport demand is projected to grow faster. The energy intensity of transport is thus expected to decrease by 0.8 % per year for passenger transport and by 0.38 % per year for freight transport, in the period 2005 to 2030 (EC, 2008).

While the growth figures for the regions are roughly equal there are some noticeable variations. In the 15 old EU Member States transport energy consumption has grown steadily since 1990. However, many of the 12 new EU Member States have experienced a decline during nineties reflecting the transition to market economies. The total transport energy consumption in the 12 new EU Member States is still lower than in the 15 old EU Member States. Road transport energy consumption has increased in both the old and new EU Member States. In fact energy consumption from road transport has increased by 61 % from 1990-2006 in these 12 new states, with a 7 % increase between 2005 and 2006. The share of road transport in the 12 new EU Member States is higher, as a result of the small share of air and sea shipping in transport energy consumption.

Air transport market share shows the strongest growth in energy consumption of all modes over the last 16 years (74 % in EEA member countries), linked to the strong increase in demand. The low share of rail is partly due to its relatively small market share, but also because in most situations rail transport is less energy-intensive than other transport modes. The large decline in rail energy consumption in the 12 new EU Member States follows a decline in rail energy market share.

Across the EEA member countries energy consumption in maritime transport (i.e. bunkers) has grown by 52% since 1990 (from 36 Mtoe to 55 Mtoe in 2006). However there has been a slight decline over the period in the consumption in the new member states.

Inland navigation includes water transport in coastal waters and on inland waterways and is only significant in countries with these geographical features, e.g. Germany, France and Finland. The energy consumption from inland transport remained more or less constant during the 1990s followed by a decline which is now reversing. Yet energy consumption remains 11% below the 1990 level in the EEA member countries, mainly due to the reduced importance of bulk industries, which dominates demand for inland shipping.

Besides this overall common development, there is considerable variation among countries, although road in nearly all cases dominates transport energy consumption. Differences are mainly due to geographical and topographical constraints such as settlement and transport patterns, and to a limited extent by political choices.

Additional policies that reduce the demand for transport, encourage modal shift towards more environmentally-friendly modes, improve transport management and enhance vehicle's energy efficiency are required in order to reduce CO2 emissions from transport. 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.

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Cinzia Pastorello


EEA Management Plan

2009 2.10.2 (note: EEA internal system)


Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 1 year in October-December (Q4)
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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100