The transportation of people and goods accounted for about 25% of all energy consumption in the world, with petrol and diesel the two dominant fuels, according to new figures released by the US Energy Information Administration.
Passenger transportation, in particular cars and vans, account for most transportation energy consumption with these light-duty vehicles alone consuming more than all freight modes of transportation, such as heavy trucks, marine, rail and air.
The US was the world’s largest transportation energy consumer in 2012, the most recent year with detailed international transportation data by mode.
On-road passenger travel is especially prevalent in the US and it consumed 13 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (b/d), representing 25% of global transportation energy demand in 2012.
Major European, countries including the UK, and China are also major transportation energy consumers.
In contrast to both the United States and OECD Europe, on-road transportation energy use in China more heavily reflects freight movement instead of passenger travel. Together these three regions represent more than 50% of world transportation energy consumption.
While on-road use accounts for the largest share of transportation energy in all regions of the world, there is considerable variation across regions in the use of other modes of transportation.
In South Korea marine transport accounts for one-fourth of the country’s total transportation energy use, demonstrating the importance of marine transport in this peninsula nation whose economy relies heavily on exports with major trading partners reached by maritime travel.
In Australia and New Zealand, air travel accounts for nearly 20% of total transportation energy consumption, compared with 11% in the United States and 6% in China. In Australia, regional air travel helps connect coastal population centers and the sparsely populated interior.
Petrol (including ethanol blends) and diesel (including biodiesel blends) accounted for 77% of total transportation consumption in 2012.
Jet fuel accounts for 12% of transportation energy consumption, followed by residual fuel oil with 9%.
Petroleum products account for the largest share of transportation energy use by far; nonpetroleum fuels account for very small portions of the world energy mix, with natural gas and electricity each accounting for about 1% of total transportation energy.