The transport sector consumes about 2/3 of the oil used worldwide, so transforming the way people travel is one of the keys to unlocking a renewable energy future.
Instead of running on fossil fuels, belching out carbon dioxide and other toxic fumes, the next generation of cars and vans will be charged, and recharged over and over again, using mains electricity. This will increasingly be generated from renewable sources.
Electrifying transport as much as possible is vital.
We can’t keep using petrol and diesel, and there simply isn’t enough land to sustainably grow biofuels to power cars and trains as well as planes and boats.
No part of our future transport can be viewed in isolation.
Better planning is one way we can use today’s transport more efficiently. Driving more slowly and smoothly saves fuel, as does planning the route before travelling. And this applies to all modes of transport.
- Improving the way air traffic is managed could reduce congestion in our skies and allow planes to follow more efficient routes, which will save fuel.
- Better port and route planning – for example, taking prevailing weather conditions even more into account – and reduced speeds can significantly reduce fuel use in cargo ships.
Where possible, people should walk, cycle or take buses, trams and trains for journeys for which they’d usually jump in the car. That will require, and catalyze, big improvements in public transport – to make it an attractive alternative, particularly in developing countries which haven’t yet become dependent on private cars.
We also need to use the most energy-efficient modes of transport, sending more freight by rail and sea, and using high-speed trains for short-haul journeys previously made by air.
Such big changes will require substantial investment. But with reduced congestion, traffic fumes and noise, and carbon dioxide emissions, it’s unquestionably a price worth paying.