A closer look: Transport sector energy use

alextokai commented on my last post Melbourne, get to know your energy use:

“I have to point out that ‘Transport’ in the second graph would include shipping as well as private motorists so much of this may be commercial usage rather than residential. Then again, we can reduce that by change our consumer habits and buying locally.”

I was curious to learn more about energy use in transport – what types of transport use what, and how each contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s seems to be very hard to find information specific to Melbourne or even Victoria on this topic, or at least information that’s already in this context, so I’ve done my best to look at the information available and draw some conclusions from it.

It’s also very hard to get all the information from the same financial year for comparison, so you’ll have to cast a blind eye to this a little bit, sorry.

Looking at Australia, the projected energy consumption in the transport sector for financial year 2009-2010 is illustrated below (I’ve used projected figures here because they’re more ‘current’ than the only other ones I can find are for 2001-2002, and that is a very similar pie chart anyway).

As you can see, road transport is projected to be big chunk of energy consumed for transport in the near future.

Now, digging deeper into the Australian road transport sector, the break down into vehicle types energy use looks like this…

(Note that 2003 is the latest figures I could find). Here we can see that passenger vehicles is another large serving of energy pie. (As an aside, this graph is in litres instead of joules like the first one, but I think you can still infer similar things).

Now, if we look at the direct greenhouse gas (CO2e) emissions by vehicle type in 2003-2004 we can see the same thing really.

In Australia’s transport sector, direct green house gas emissions attributed to motor vehicles (2003-2004) was 88%.

Trying to put this into a more local context I’ve found that Victorian road transport made up 22% of the Australian total in 2004-2005. In Victoria in 2004-2005 of the total kilometres travelled by road vehicles, 27% was in Victoria, and 17% of the Australian total was in Melbourne.

Out of the list of vehicles: passenger car, light commercial vehicles, motor cycles, rail, light rail, bus and ferry… the total passenger kilometres travelled in Melbourne by passenger car alone was 78%.

And an interesting tid-bit I found along the way: According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics,

In 2006, 66% of Australians aged 18 years and over travelled less than 20 kilometres (km) to get to work or study. Nearly a third (28%) travelled 20km or more and 20% travelled 5km or less (p.60).

Imagine if the latter 20% of adults alone chose active transport, like cycling, to get to work or study?

Sources and more information:
BITRE | Australian Transport Statistics Yearbook 2007
SOE 2006 – Indicator: Energy use in transport
ABARE – Energy in Australia 2008
Victorian Greenhouse Strategy
ABS 4602.0 – Environmental Issues: People’s Views and Practices, Mar 2006
Sustainability Victoria

3 Comments so far

  1. adrock2xander (mel_john) on August 14th, 2008 @ 10:30 pm

    No offense Maree, but would you be able to ‘shorten’ your posts so when it appears on the home page a READ MORE> appears? Your post looks a lot more interesting and the blog’s layout doesn’t look too unprofessional. Don’t forget, readers browsing through a blog only read what they’re interested in. A lengthy post on energy just might put many people off (myself included) from reading on.

    From the ‘Write Post’ page, select the ‘Visual’ tab and look for the ‘Insert More Tag (Alt + Shift + T)’ button on where you want the post to split up.

    There are many posts written in this style. Scroll down on look back at previous months to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

    Keep up the good energy use posts though. I’m sure there are lots of concerned Victorians out there.


  2. maree on August 15th, 2008 @ 11:05 am

    Ah-ha! Thanks adrock2xander. I’ll do that ‘read more’ thing in future as my posts tend to have a bit of content in them. Cheers.

    Also, the energy posts are not about being ‘concerned’ for me… more about being aware or informed about important things.


  3. adrock2xander (mel_john) on August 15th, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

    Hey no worries. Afterall we’re a team here in Melbourne. It’s always good to know that our posts are well received. Suggestions and comments are almost always taken kindly (except the comments made in my posts LOL).



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