Core Issues

Underlining our ‘lives’ are a number of issues which have a significant effect on energy use. These are in particular need of a rational perspective.


Transportation

Transport represents the most significant (approximately one-third) use of energy within the UK. Transports share of energy use has doubled since 1960 (Table 12)

Year 1960 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995
% 17 19 22 25 27 33 34

Table 12: Transports share of energy use, UK [41]

Transport Energy Use - fuel

All the main fuels used for transportation are derived from Petroleum. The only other significant energy source is electricity, which represents approximately one third of total rail energy use (delivered). The rail sector accounts for less than 2% of total transport energy use.

  mtoe %
     
Petroleum 51.97 99.35
Electricity 0.34 0.65
Total 52.31  

Table 13: Transport Energy Use according to delivered fuel, 1996 [42]

Transport Energy Use - sector

Road transport accounts for nearly 80% of fuel use in the transport sector with air a distant but growing second place. The efficiency of road transport will depend on the efficiency of other forms of transport serving the same needs. Road Transport, representing one quarter of all energy use in the UK could certainly benefit from rationalisation.

  mtoe % transport use % all energy use
       
Road 41.1 78.5 25.5
Rail 1.0 1.9 0.6
Water 1.3 2.5 0.8
Air 9.0 17.2 5.6
Total 52.3 32.5  

Table 14: Fuel Use by transport sector, 1996 (million tonnes oil equivalent) [42]

Road Transport Energy Use - function

  mt %
     
Cars/taxis 24.1 66.9
light goods vehicles 1.6 4.4
heavy goods vehicles 8.9 24.7
motorcycles 0.2 0.6
buses/coaches 1.2 3.3

Table 15: Energy Use in Road Transport, UK 1994, million tonnes petroleum [43]

The figures for car and freight are the most significant and would therefore benefit the most from a rational perspective and will be examined.

Car Use

Car use is inseparable from personal (including commercial/business) transport. Reductions in car use must consider what would constitute rational alternatives together with measures which might enable the same functions to be achieved by reducing levels of personal travel. Table 16 provides

  WORK     DOMESTIC/LEISURE          
  To/From Business Education Shopping Business Social Holidays Other %
Personal, SP 0.8 0.2 0.5 1.7 0.5 0.8 0.2 1.46 3
Personal, M 29.9 20.3 2.1 19.1 10.3 50.2 21.5 13.1 83
Public T 6.6 2.0 3.0 3.2 1.2 5.9 4.9 0.4 13
                   
Total 37.3 22.5 5.6 24.0 12.0 56.9 26.6 14.9  
% 19 11 3 12 6 29 13 8  
                   
journeys/ 3.2 1.0 1.3 4.3 1.8 4.8 0.6 3.3  
week (average)                  
                   
journey 5.8 11.3 2.2 2.8 3.3 5.9 22.2 2.3  
distance (average)                  

Personal, SP: Self Propelled (Walking, Cycling)

Personal, M: Motorized (car, taxi, motorcycle)

Public T: Public Transport (bus, rail, coach)

Table 16: Breakdown of personal transport use according to mode and purpose, UK, km/week (average) [41]

a breakdown to the ways in which we travel according to the purpose of the journey. A breakdown of average number of trips and distance provides a pointer to the reasons why some travel choices are made.

  Optimum Typical Efficiency Efficiency
      of use of average
RAIL        
Range 0.18 - 0.50 0.70 - 2.10    
Average 0.40 1.40 13 29
         
BUS        
Range 0.22 - 0.36 0.50 - 1.80    
Average 0.26 1.40 16 19
         
CAR        
Range 0.53 - 1.28 1.20 - 2.90    
Average 0.91 2.00 27 46
         
AIRCRAFT 2.36 3.60 66  
BICYCLE 0.03 0.03 100  
WALK 0.14 0.14 100  

Table 17: Energy Consumption (Typical and Potential)

MJ/passenger kilometre [41]

Reductions in the energy use for personal transportation may be achieved by reductions in distances travelled and by the use of more fuel efficient transport modes. Both of these can be tackled to some degree through Urban Planning. Increasing the use of Public Transport is generally seen as environmentally sound. Table 17 provides a number of useful indicators. Looking at existing usage (average values), the fuel efficiencies of motor-cars are not so very poor in comparison with public transport but this is largely due to a relatively greater occupancy for cars. This indicates that improvement in the use of existing public transport facilities is a priority.

Freight Transport

The majority of freight transported within Great Britain is provided by road vehicles. Alongside the growth in quantity of goods transported it is interesting to note that whilst the country has not grown in size, the distance goods are moved has grown considerably.

  1952 1994
     
Road 36 85
Rail 128 134
Water 400 371
Pipeline 100 96

Table 18: Freight: average distance transported (km) [41]

This can be explained by 'Just in Time' manufacturing and the use of national rather than local distribution centres [41]. It may also be partially due to the increase in use of road over rail for long haul transport. From an energy point of view, transport by rail will generally be the more efficient. Directly comparable figures for energy consumption of road and rail freight are not easily obtained. Two sources of information are presented here (Table 19 and Table 20). From Table 19 it should not be interpreted that rail freight consumption is 10% of that for road freight for the same volume of goods as the data for rail reflect energy consumption for gross weight (goods plus vehicle) whereas the road figures exclude the weight of the vehicle.

Mode kg/1000 tonne km
Road (1) 65
Rail (2) 7

(1): [41]
(2): [44]

Table 19: Typical energy consumption for diesel powered road and rail freight vehicles [41,44]

Whilst road and rail are the main transport systems used within the UK, goods are also transported within and to/from the UK by ship and aircraft. Table 20 gives an indication of the relative energy costs of each of these systems.

Energy (in kcal) to transport 1kg of goods, 1km

Transport System Energy Energy use relative to most efficient
     
Water 0.10 1
Rail 0.32 3
Road 1.20 12
Air 6.36 64

Table 20: Relative energy use of different freight transport systems [34]

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