TD 4-1: Energy Consumption by Mode of Transportation (Petajoules, 10 to the 15th joules)


“Energy Consumption, total” represents the total requirement for all uses of energy, including energy used by the final consumer (industrial, residential, commercial, agricultural, transportation), non-energy uses, intermediate uses of energy, energy in transforming one energy form to another (e.g. coal to electricity), and energy used by suppliers in providing energy to the market (e.g. pipeline fuel). Energy Consumption, total includes renewable energy.

Transportation energy consumption is the energy used in the transportation of people and goods by all modes. The modes included are: a) road (cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles); b) rail (passenger and freight, urban transit); c) air (passenger and freight); and d) water. Transportation energy consumption includes fuel used in fisheries and in private trucking but excludes fuel consumption by public administrations.

Transportation energy consumption does not include pipeline or energy used by off-road equipment; which may include equipment used in agriculture, construction, or the residential sector such as lawn mowers and recreational vehicles.

Air fuel data include sales to foreign carriers, but excludes fuel purchased by Canadian carriers abroad.

Data for road, other fuels refer to liquid petroleum gases (LPGs).

Rail fuel data are for diesel fuel only.

Transit fuel data refer to all urban public transit, including local motor buses, light rail and heavy rail.

Data for water transport fuel include fuel sold to fisheries operators. Water data also include sales to foreign carriers, but exclude fuel purchased by Canadian carriers abroad.



Data on total energy consumption include losses resulting from the transformation of one form of energy to another, self-consumption (principally at electrical power plants), and the transportation, distribution and storage of fuels and electricity.


  United States

Air, jet fuel: Data include only jet fuel consumed by the large certificated carriers in their domestic operations, plus on-demand air taxis and general aviation. Large certificated carriers account for 95 percent to 96 percent of the jet fuel reported in Table 4-1. A large certificated air carrier is an air carrier “holding a certificate issued under Section 401 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, as amended, that: (1) operates aircraft designed to have a maximum passenger capacity of more than 60 seats or a maximum payload capacity of more than 18,000 pounds [8,165 kg]; or (2) conducts operations where one or both terminals of a flight stage are outside the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” The large certificated air carriers are divided into four groups, according to operating revenue: Majors, Nationals, Large Regionals and Medium Regionals. The jet fuel data in Table 4-1 exclude the Medium Regionals, small certificated air carriers, scheduled commuters, foreign airliners fueling in the United States, the military and other governmental users.

Road: Gasoline includes private, commercial and governmental use, with the exception of the military. The Federal Highway Administration?s category “Special Fuels” appears to exclude civilian government and military use. (See Highway Statistics, cited above.) More than 99 percent of FHWA?s category “Special Fuels” is diesel. Data for the category “Other Fuels” in Table 4-1 are taken directly from Alternatives to Traditional Transportation Fuels, table C1. Oxygenates and biodiesel are not included. The conversion factor used is that for gasoline, because the data in Table C1 are stated as gasoline-equivalent liters.

Transit: For 1990 and 1995, data are obtained from American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Data cover all transit, including local transit buses and other road transit vehicles, which are also reported under Road. Some ferryboats, however, are not included. (Web site:, click on Statistics.) The entry “Gasoline” includes only gasoline. Data for years 1996 and later are obtained from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Data cover fuel consumption by directly operated transportation services of all transit modes including bus, heavy and commuter rail, demand response, trolleybus, vanpool, automated guideway, cable car, inclined plane, and ferryboat. Fuel consumption by purchased transportation services is not included in the data. Purchased transportation service refers to the service provided to a public transit agency or governmental unit from a public or private transportation provider based on a written contract.

Other items are left out of the individual modal numbers in Table 4-1. Nonclass I rail is not included, nor are electrical system losses for rail and transit. Military use of gasoline is left out of the road category in Table 4-1. (Federal civilian use of gasoline is included, as are state, county and municipal use.) Nor are losses arising from the evaporation and handling of road gasoline included in the road category in Table 4-1. All governmental use of diesel road fuel is left out of FHWA?s category “Special Fuels,” and thus is left out of Table 4-1. All of these together probably add up to less than 0.5 exajoules. (See NTS-01, Table 4-19 and the Annual Energy Review-2001, Tables 1-12 and 1-13 for data on military use of energy.)

Revisions are from original primary source.

Conversion factors: See NTS-04, Table 4-6 for the volume-to-energy conversion factors. The NTS conversion factors are in U.S. measurements (BTUs per gallon). Road: Data is taken from FHWA, Highway Statistics Series, tables MF-21 and MF-27 (reported in gallons), and to convert into BTU, use NTS calculation for gasoline- 125,000 BTU/gallon. Once converted to BTU, 1 BTU is 1,055.056 Joule. Diesel (for road and transit)- 138,700 BTU/Gallon. Compressed Natural Gas (used in transit)- 138700 BTU/Gallon.Water Transport: Distillate/Diesel Fuel- 138,700 BTU/Gallon. For Residual Fuel- 149,700 BTU/Gallon. Look at Vessel Bunkers only. For Gasoline in Water Transport, multiply marine number by 125,000 for BTU and convert to joules. Rail: Used Fuel Consumed in Freight Service (millions of gallons) from Railroad Facts, pg 40. Use diesel fuel conversion (138,700 BTU/Gallon). Pipeline: Took Pipeline Fuel number from Table 3, Natural Gas Annual 2000, followed NTS 2001 conversion factor (Natural gas = 1,031 Btu/ft3). Air: Aviation gas-120,200 BTU/gallon, Jet fuel-135,000 BTU/gallon. Transit, electricity: Transit electricity: Electricity 1kWh = 3,412 BTU. 2000 and 2001 totals include freight rail data, which is not available separately.